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Celebrating National Literacy Month

As we celebrate September as National Literacy Month, we also take note of International Literacy Day 2019, a day established by UNESCO that will focus this year on ‘Literacy and Multilingualism.’ While UNESCO addresses literacy challenges across countries and populations, Reading Is Fundamental is focused on making a difference in the U.S.

The need is great and the shocking truth of the literacy crisis in America plays out every day in classrooms – where 25 million children are not proficient readers – to business. According to research from the Business Roundtable, 42% report problems finding qualified applicants with strong reading and writing skills¹ of Americans read below the level needed to earn a living wage.²

As a new school year has begun, Reading Is Fundamental works to inspire families, empower educators, and encourage volunteers and literacy advocates about the difference they can make in the lives of children through power of literacy. Literacy is the fundamental building block to a child’s future, no matter what path they choose to follow.

At Reading Is Fundamental (RIF), the nation’s leading voice for children’s literacy, we believe that literacy is a fundamental right for every child. Literacy is the skill that opens doors to a world of opportunity and possibilities.

As students nationwide settle into a new school year, join us in our quest to ensure that every child learns to read. When kids develop strong reading skills, they are not the only ones who benefit. We all do! Readers are better prepared to thrive and to contribute positively to their families, the economy, and to society as a whole.

What can you do at home to encourage a culture of literacy? Literacy is all around you and is always present in your daily experiences. As a parent, educator, volunteer or caregiver, one of the most important things you can do is to read to your child daily. This simple act models a love of reading, and supporting the habit of reading yields overwhelming returns. Reading is everything and strong literacy skills set the stage for future learning and academic success. A study by the Annie E. Casey Foundation found that fewer than 2 in 5 kids are read to less than four times a week.In fact, only 1 in 300 children living in low-income communities have a book of their own³.

RIF offers a wealth of resources in Literacy Central to help you encourage young readers, including tip sheets for parents, read-aloud guide, suggestions for encouraging reading and writing, and more. Many of our resources are available in both English and Spanish. To learn how you can help RIF to provide children access to books and supporting literacy resources, visit

¹ BRT Report: Why Reading Matters and What to Do About It, December 2016

² National Council for Adult Learning

³ Reading Literacy in the United States: Findings from the IEA Reading Literacy Study. (1996)