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Ohio Youth to Benefit from Launch of New Reading Is Fundamental Program

FREMONT, Ohio, July 19, 2007 — Through a grant from Reading Is Fundamental, Inc. (RIF), the Ohio Migrant Education Center has launched a new RIF program that will provide free books, literacy resources, and materials to more than 1,600 migrant children in Ohio.

Participants involved in the Ohio Migrant Education Center RIF program will now have the opportunity to choose two to five free books to add to or create personal libraries. All children who attend one of 14 migrant education programs statewide will participate in a RIF distribution twice this summer. The children, many of whom are native-Spanish speakers, will have the choice of selecting books written in English, Spanish, or in bilingual format. The first book distribution was held in June with another distribution scheduled for later this month.

The mission of the Ohio Migrant Education Center is to provide the supplemental and support services necessary to deliver a quality “seamless” educational program to each identified migrant student in the state of Ohio.

RIF is the nation's oldest and largest nonprofit children's and family literacy organization. Founded more than forty years ago, RIF’s literacy programs embrace three elements to foster a child’s love of reading: fun reading activities, family and community involvement, and a child’s excitement at choosing free books that are theirs to keep. RIF currently serves children in every state and territory in the U.S., at more than 20,000 sites.

"At the Ohio Migrant Education Center we work with socio-economic disadvantaged families who are also very transient due to the agricultural work that they do," said Dr. Jose Salinas, director of the Ohio Migrant Education Center. "Receiving the RIF books will not only encourage our students to read, but also give them the opportunity to own their own books. For many, this will be the first new book they will have ever owned." 

"RIF programs help get books to 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 the Ohio Migrant Education Center to help the migrant children of Ohio develop a lifelong love of reading."

The children of migrant workers are some of the most educationally disadvantaged children in the country because of their transient lifestyles. In 2006, RIF served nearly 1,400 migrant communities across the country, distributing books to more than 255,000 affected children.

With the support of Congress, the U.S. Department of Education and private funders, RIF distributed more than 16 million books last year to nearly 4.5 million children across the country. Last year, in the state of Ohio, RIF and its volunteers distributed approximately 408,375 new books to more than 108,359 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. If you are interested in either donating funds or volunteering with the Ohio Migrant Education Center RIF program, contact Gloria Vargas at (419) 332-6007.

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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
202-536-3528

Ohio Youth to Benefit from Launch of New Reading Is Fundamental Program