Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) still promoting literacy to America’s children
A couple of days ago, I wrote a post about an Omnibus Appropriations bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives. As I was reading through some of the projects that the bill will fund, one that stuck out was Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) which was allocated $25,043,000.
I remember RIF commercials from back in the day but I wasn't really up on what the group actually did. In recent years I've heard RIF as a punchline on TV and in movies more than anything else.
In 1966, former teacher Margaret McNamara brought a bag of used books to four boys in Washington, D.C., whom she tutored in reading. When she told the children they could each pick out a book to keep, their astonishment and delight led her to discover that these children, and many of their classmates, had never owned any books.
Today, through its contract with the U.S. Department of Education to operate the Inexpensive Book Distribution Program (IBDP), now supplemented with private funds, RIF programs operate in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Guam.
For over four decades, Reading Is Fundamental has provided new books free of charge to more than 300 million children. Last year alone RIF gave 4.5 million children over 16 million books.
I would recommend taking a look at RIF's Leading to Reading website aimed at children 0-5 years old. It is part of their Multicultural Literacy Campaign. The site is full of games and activities for kids, as well as articles and advice for grown ups. You know what they say, reading is fundamental.