Theory of Change

Reading Is Fundamental’s (RIF’s) programmatic work is grounded in Theory of Change models aligned to each program. These models show the links that occur from the start of a program, through implementation, to the ultimate desired end goals and demonstrate that with our RIF inputs, we are driving significant, impactful outcomes for students, educators, and families. 

women handing a book to child

An introduction to RIF’s Theory of Change models

If you’re interested in developing a deeper understanding of how RIF programs’ inputs, activities, and outputs impact children’s literacy, the Theory of Change models provide a comprehensive snapshot. 

Books for Ownership: introduction to the model 

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Download the RIF Books for Ownership Theory of Change model.

At the heart of our organization, we believe—and research shows—that giving children choice and access to own new, age-appropriate books is positively tied to improved reading behaviors. This model has a positive impact on reading and writing performance, language development, and academic performance in other subjects.  

RIF Theory of Change Models - girls at book selection

This model is also associated with positive behavioral, educational, and psychological outcomes. Complementing book ownership with an online library of resources through RIF’s digital platforms, Literacy Central and Literacy Network, provides continuously evolving supplemental support for families, educators, and literacy advocates. It also ensures ongoing community engagement. 

Together, book ownership and a rich library of complementary, supplemental reading activities and resources lead to an increase in students’ reading frequency, motivation, engagement, and confidence—which can all lead to increases in reading proficiency. 

The Books for Ownership model is especially important for program implementation in historically under-resourced communities, helping to close the reading achievement gap.  

Read for Success: introduction to the model 

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Download the Theory of Change Read for Success Model.

RIF’s Read for Success (RFS) program pairs interactive classroom read-alouds with book ownership for independent reading at home. This model aligns with RIF’s research-backed philosophy that book access and choice lead to increased reading interest.  

In addition, facilitators reading aloud high-quality picture books with rich academic content and vocabulary support students’ development of background knowledge for content areas that are needed as they progress to middle and high school. The combination of both these RFS elements can result in improved reading proficiency. 

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RIF in action

Since 1966, we’ve partnered with educators, families, and literacy advocates to change the trajectory of the literacy crisis. Check out the latest from RIF.