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Hot Springs Youth to Benefit from Launch of New Reading Is Fundamental Program

WASHINGTON, April 16, 2007—Through a grant from Reading Is Fundamental, Inc. (RIF), C.S.O., Inc. Head Start Program has launched a new RIF program that will provide free books, literacy resources, and materials to 223 preschoolers in Hot Springs, Ark. Children involved in the C.S.O., Inc. Head Start (CSO) RIF program now have the opportunity to choose three free books to add or create personal libraries. The first book distribution was held March 23, 2007. Future distributions are scheduled for May and September.

CSO is a comprehensive child development preschool program for three and four year old children from low-income families. CSO services address language development, literacy, math, science, creative arts, social and emotional skills, approaches to learning, physical health and development.

"As the children came to select their books, they were so excited to be able to take them home," said Mozella Anderson, CSO’s director. "They couldn't believe they didn't have to bring the books back to school and frankly, neither did their parents."

"RIF programs help get books to the children who need them most," said Carol H. Rasco, RIF president and CEO. "Research has shown that children who have access to books and who read for fun perform better on reading tests. RIF looks forward to working with C.S.O., Inc. Head Start to help the children of Hot Springs develop a lifelong love of reading."

With the support of Congress, the U.S. Department of Education and private funders, last year RIF distributed more than 16 million books to nearly 4.5 million children across the country. Almost 89 percent of the federal funds were used to purchase books. In addition, RIF volunteers leveraged the federal dollars to raise an additional $9.2 million to support book ownership.  In the state of Arkansas, RIF and its volunteers distribute 158,138 new books annually to more than 40,000 children in schools and other facilities. Since its founding, RIF has distributed more than 300 million new, free books to more than 25 million children ages birth to age 18.

RIF programs are required to provide a 25 percent match of their book budget. The first match for the RIF grant was supplied by the Hot Springs Minister Conference.  For more information on either donating funds or volunteering with the C.S.O., Inc. Head Start RIF program, contact Mozella Anderson at (501) 623 -3545.

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 4.6 million children with 15 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.

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For more information, contact:
Layla Wright-Contreras,
Media Relations Manager

Hot Springs Youth to Benefit from Launch of New Reading Is Fundamental Program