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RIF Literacy Initiatives Give the Gift of Reading this Holiday Season

Early Childhood Literacy Needs Addressed Following Unprecedented Research

WASHINGTON – December 8, 2010 –Reading Is Fundamental (RIF), the nation’s largest children’s literacy nonprofit, announced the additional steps it has taken to provide more books to children in an effort to develop a nation of readers.

Just this week, a new global survey of 15 year old student achievement found United States students rank average in reading at 14th out of 34 countries. Earlier this year, RIF commissioned Learning Point Associates to conduct a comprehensive research study accessing the impact of providing children access to print materials. The research found that providing children access to print materials improves their reading performance, is instrumental in helping them learn the basics of reading, causes children to read more and for longer lengths of time, and improves their attitude toward reading and learning. The full research report can be downloaded online at http://www.rif.org/meta.
RIF’s literacy supporters understand the critical importance of equipping children with the tools and resources they need to be successful. As part of its most recent efforts, RIF launched new literacy initiatives to empower families in underserved communities. Through its partnership with Macy’s, RIF awarded $87,500 in grants to 20 of its programs to conduct local Family Reading Celebrations and partnered with First Book to purchase 500,000 books from the First Book Marketplace to benefit children in RIF programs nationwide. RIF and Macy's also provided support to Communities In Schools of Greater New Orleans to host a series of family engagement events throughout the school year.

In addition, an anonymous donor made a bequest $100,000 designated for RIF’s Family of Readers training program that helps parents and caregivers gain the skills and confidence to guide their children’s reading, learning, and love of books.

“RIF is a recognized leader in children’s literacy, and these additional initiatives are designed to help us engage more children and families that ever before,” said Carol H. Rasco, president and CEO of Reading Is Fundamental. “We understand that many families across the nation are facing economic challenges, and we are thankful to have our valued partners and supporters help us fulfill our mission of fostering a nation of readers.”

The U.S. Census Bureau recently reported that one in seven Americans live below the poverty level, the highest in U.S. history. In addition, 61% of children living in poverty in the U.S. have no books at home, and their access to books is further limited by libraries being forced to close their doors or reduce operating hours due to the economic downturn.

About RIF
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 provided 4.4 million children with 15 million new, free books and literacy resources last year. For more information and to access reading resources, visit RIF’s website at www.rif.org.

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RIF Literacy Initiatives Give the Gift of Reading this Holiday Season