Congressman Chandler and Reading Is Fundamental Celebrate Literacy and Provide 1,300 Kentucky Children with Free Books for Back-to-School
Events in three cities are tied to President Obama's United We Serve service initiative
WASHINGTON—August 20, 2009—Congressman Ben Chandler, a long-time champion of literacy in Kentucky, and his staff celebrated the joy of reading with young children during three Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) events in Irvine, Paris, and Georgetown, Ky., on August 18-20. These events, tied to President Obama's United We Serve initiative, highlight the fact that through RIF's 6,257 local volunteers in Kentucky, nearly 85,000 children in the state are able to choose more than 320,000 books to keep as their own, every year.
"These kids in Scott, Bourbon, and Estill counties were so excited about the books they received through RIF," said Representative Chandler of Kentucky's Sixth Congressional District. "I hope that this will help them develop an appreciation and a love of reading, a gift that will stick with them and benefit them for the rest of their lives."
On Tuesday, August 18, volunteers at West Irvine Elementary School's RIF program held a pirate-themed book distribution in which 400 children in grades 1-5 received books from "Captain Chandler's Treasure Chest." The RIF program is coordinated by Elrene "Elke" Davis, who received one of three 2009 RIF Volunteer of the Year Awards. While in Washington, D.C., to receive her award, Davis spoke to Congressman Chandler about her RIF program and the impact it was having in her community. The success story of her program is featured on RIF's "Heart of the Story" website.
On August 19, at the North Middletown Elementary School RIF program in Paris, Ky., 200 children in grades K-5 were encouraged to draw on their experiences to tell their own life story during the event themed "Storytelling: Everyone Has a Story." Each child also chose a free book to keep and enjoyed performances from middle school students from a storytelling class, while another group of students participated in a read-aloud with Congressman Chandler.
During a final August 20 event, "Cruisin' Into Books," at Southern Elementary School in Georgetown, Ky., 700 children from grades K-5 participated in a school-wide assembly celebrating reading. During the event, the Congressman greeted special guests, RIF staff, and other literacy supporters, then read to children.
"We would like to thank Congressman Chandler for his commitment to literacy and Reading Is Fundamental," said Carol H. Rasco, RIF president and CEO. "His support benefits not only the 1,300 children who received books at these events, but also the 4.5 million children nationwide who will receive RIF books throughout the year."
Time spent reading with children during these events will be captured and logged on RIF's Read for Change website—a campaign tied to President Obama's United We Serve initiative. The campaign aims to highlight the importance of reading with young children and has the goal of collectively logging 3 million minutes of reading with children by September 11, 2009. See www.RIF.org/readforchange.
"In my own experience, reading to our three kids years ago when they were young has helped them tremendously today. In my view, reading well and often makes you better at pretty much everything," added Chandler.
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 provides 4.5 million children with 16 million new, free books and literacy resources each year. For more information, and to access reading resources, visit RIF's website at www.rif.org.
Discover the Joy!
Jennifer R. Krimm