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Jefferson County Public Schools Selected as Reading Is Fundamental Program of the Month

Local program serves 38 schools and more than 20,000 students across Louisville

WASHINGTON, September 1, 2011 – Reading Is Fundamental (RIF), the nation’s largest children’s literacy nonprofit, named Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS), located in Louisville, Ky. as the national Program of the Month honoree for September 2011.

For a decade, this program has implemented creative ways to interest children and families in reading and making reading fun. Each year the program gives away more than 65,000 books to 20,000 children at 38 elementary schools in the district.

For JCPS, literacy is a team effort, led by RIF coordinator Maria Carrico. More than 1,000 parents and community volunteers have supported the program and its commitment to improving children’s literacy in Louisville.  Themed distributions last year included “Random Acts of Reading,” which involved taking photos of teachers and students caught in the act of reading, “Books are Spooktacular,” which focused on mystery stories for fall distributions, and “Pop Open a Book,” where the PTA provided a bag of popcorn with each RIF book given away. JCPS also hosted best-selling children’s book author and television writer Tish Rabe to speak to students and get them excited about reading and writing. Last year, most of the RIF schools were able to provide more than one book to each child at the three book distributions.

However, RIF’s ability to continue providing books to children is in jeopardy as $25 million in federal funding was eliminated for the organization as a result of federal budget cuts. Thirty-six percent of fourth grade students in Jefferson County scored below the basic reading assessment level on the most recent National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP).  There is a clear and undeniable need for RIF’s services in Jefferson County and across the country to continue.

“Jefferson County Public Schools demonstrates the mission of RIF through motivating students to read, making reading fun, and building a whole community to support the cause,” said Carol H. Rasco, president and CEO of RIF.  “This program has given students something no one can take from them - the joy of reading and the value of owning a collection of RIF books to call their own.”

RIF launched the Program of the Month initiative to honor the ongoing efforts of local programs fulfilling RIF’s mission, which relies on innovative programs promoting children’s literacy in their communities. Thanks to thousands of volunteers, children all across the country are discovering the joy of reading.

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 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.

Discover the Joy!                                                                


Jefferson County Public Schools Selected as Reading Is Fundamental Program of the Month