Each year, Reading is Fundamental (RIF) helps
more than 3.5 million children improve their reading skills and
obtain free books. RIF is a unique network of volunteers and
public-private partnerships that provide the neediest
children with free books and tutoring. Founded in 1966 by Margaret
Craig McNamara, a volunteer tutor in Washington D.C. schools, RIF
now has programs in 17,000 schools, childcare centers, libraries,
hospitals, detention centers and homeless shelters nationwide.
How It Works
Reading is Fundamental develops model children's and family literacy
programs that organizations sponsor in their communities. The
goal of every RIF program is to spark children's interest in reading.
RIF coordinators and volunteers customize programs to meet the needs
of the children they serve. For example, a program located within a
Head Start pre-school class
offers exercises to help prepare children for reading. Another
program may co-sponsor reading contests with the local public
library. Each April during "Reading is Fun Week," schools and
communities around the nation host events that celebrate the
pleasures of reading.
Partners in Success
RIF has formed
numerous partnerships with
corporations, government bodies and other non-profit organizations, adding to its strength.
The organization has a unique partnership with the U.S.
Department of Education,
in which most donations and grants to RIF
receive federal matching funds. RIF has also partnered
with most major book suppliers to receive books at the lowest
possible prices. In the past, Scholastic teamed
with the program to distribute 250,000 new books to children in
Washington D.C. public elementary schools. The organization is also
supported by several celebrity spokespeople, including Shaquille
O'Neal and Howie Mandel.
Reading is Fundamental is the nation's largest children's literacy
organization. It frequently works with other organizations
committed to literacy, including the American Library Association
and the National Institute for Literacy.
Another partner is the Sylvan Book Adventure,
a free Web-based reading incentive
program that enables parents and educators to track a reader's
progress and select appropriate materials for every reading level.