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RIF Awards February Programs of the Month

Programs in Takoma Park, Md., Peru, Ind., and Austin, Texas, Recognized for Literacy Efforts

WASHINGTON, February 10, 2009—Reading Is Fundamental (RIF), the nation's oldest and largest children and families' literacy nonprofit organization, has named its three Programs of the Month award recipients for February 2009. The programs are based out of Beginning the Journey (Takoma Park, Md.), Peru Public Library (Peru, Ind.) and BookSpring (Austin, Texas).

"These three RIF programs have done an outstanding job at motivating children to read," said Carol H. Rasco, president and CEO of RIF. "Studies show that children who read for pleasure do better in school. RIF is proud to recognize the work of these programs for their achievement in helping children discover the joy and value of reading."

Beginning the Journey serves 100 children from birth to high school. Peta-Gay Lewis, founder and RIF coordinator, has been encouraging reading and promoting literacy through her title as Mrs. Montgomery County International. The Mrs. International Pageant system gives Lewis a chance to share her message, "Reading: The Key to Your Future," beyond America's borders. Lewis' work in her community RIF program and her desire to spread the organization's literacy mission makes her a great example of a committed volunteer.

Peru Public Library serves 1,100 children ages 3-14. Maryann Farnham, who coordinates the book distribution events, participated in Peru Public Library's very first RIF distribution 32 years ago. At the time, she had no idea she would go on to become Peru Public Library's assistant director and volunteer as the RIF coordinator. Peru Public Library's RIF program offers a variety of motivational activities to engage children and parents in reading. This school year more than 1,000 parents have participated, which truly impacts children's literacy in the community. Farnham runs a fantastic program that promotes children's literacy with enthusiasm, creativity, and with a focus on community and parental involvement.

BookSpring serves children from pre-K to grade 6. This RIF program has been providing children in need with free books for more than 30 years. Leah Davies coordinates the program, and Donna Emery provides additional leadership as organizer of its annual Read-A-Thon event. During BookSpring's RIF Read-A-Thon, its largest fundraiser, students collect pledges for each page they read through the program and donate the money to BookSpring. The RIF program under BookSpring helps provide free books to 45,000 students in the Austin area. Emery deserves special recognition in putting together this huge effort, now in its fourth year, to bring more books to more children.

RIF launched its Programs of the Month initiative to honor the ongoing efforts of local programs to fulfill the mission of RIF, which depends on programs like these to promote children's literacy. Thanks to thousands of volunteers, children all across the country are discovering the joy of reading.

Reading Is Fundamental, Inc. (RIF), founded in 1966, motivates children to read by working with them, their parents, and community members to make reading a fun and beneficial part of everyday life. RIF's highest priority is reaching underserved children from birth to age 8. Through community volunteers in every state and U.S. territory, RIF provides 4.5 million children with 16 million new, free books and literacy resources each year. For more information and to access reading resources, visit RIF's website at www.rif.org.

Discover the Joy!

Press Contact:

Layla Wright-Contreras,
Media Relations Manager



RIF Awards February Programs of the Month