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Mayor Fenty Invites D.C. Youth to Discover the Joy Of Reading

Reading Is Fundamental Provides Free Books to 15,000 Students

WASHINGTON, March 1, 2007—Mayor Adrian M. Fenty today joined thousands of Washington elementary school students as he read from Dr. Seuss’s The Cat in the Hat as part of Reading Is Fundamental's (RIF) citywide new book distribution program at 30 public and charter schools.  RIF is the nation’s oldest and largest nonprofit children’s and family literacy organization.

Last November, RIF launched its D.C. Initiative project to help school and community efforts to improve youth literacy in the city. The D.C. Initiative includes providing more than 45,000 new books for three citywide book distributions. The events held today—themed around the 50th anniversary of Dr. Seuss’s book The Cat in the Hat—engaged students in fun literacy-related activities and offered them an opportunity to pick out a new book to own. RIF’s D.C. Initiative is supported by the Freed Foundation, GMAC-RFC, The Washington Post, and the Kiplinger Foundation.

"Reading is both fun and fundamental," Mayor Adrian M. Fenty told about 100 students at Kimball Elementary School in Southeast. "The more we read, the more we learn. As a community, we need to foster a culture of literacy that encourages language development for our preschoolers and improves reading and writing skills for our students and adults."

"Studies show that when children have access to books in the home and read for fun, they will do better in school," said Carol H. Rasco, president and CEO of RIF. "Through the D.C. Initiative, RIF is supporting local efforts to pull D.C. reading scores from the bottom of national lists to the top. By exposing our youth to the joy of reading, and by linking reading with fun activities like games and music, we will not only make them better students, but we will also improve their opportunities for lifelong success."

After speaking to the students, Mayor Fenty joined Beverly Kirk of NewsChannel 8, and Sheila West Miller, the principal of Kimball Elementary School, in reading The Cat in the Hat. Afterward, each student selected the book of their choice.

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.

Discover the Joy!

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

Mayor Fenty Invites D.C. Youth to Discover the Joy Of Reading