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RIF Announces Winners of the 2007 Hispanic Community Reading Challenge

Program focuses on bringing Hispanic families closer together through reading

WASHINGTON, July 9, 2007 — This year, over 21,000 Hispanic children pledged to participate in ¡Leamos Juntos!: Let's Read Together 2007 Hispanic Community Reading Challenge, sponsored by MetLife Foundation. Eight out of more than 50 Reading Is Fundamental, Inc. (RIF), programs were selected as winners of the contest. This year’s winners included:

  • The Community Action Commission of Santa Barbara County, Santa Maria, Calif.
  • The Community Action Commission of Santa Barbara County, Guadalupe, Calif.
  • Community Action of Goldenrod Hills, Madison, Neb.
  • PS4 — The Duke Ellington School, New York, N.Y.
  • Beach Court Elementary, Denver, Colo.
  • West Park School, Fresno, Calif.
  • Yuma School District One, Yuma, Ariz.
  • Migrant Program at Yuma School District One, Yuma, Ariz.

The RIF Community Reading Challenge began in 2002. This year's Community Reading Challenge: ¡Leamos Juntos! primarily focused on the Hispanic community to foster the next generation of lifelong readers and bring together Hispanic children, their families, and community through the joy of reading.

"MetLife Foundation shares RIF's commitment to building early literacy skills and cultivating a love of reading among all youth," said Sibyl Jacobson, president of MetLife Foundation. "We are pleased to join RIF in honoring local programs for successful engagement of Hispanic youth and families in fun, hands-on reading activities."

Reading scores among Hispanic and some other minority fourth graders significantly lag behind those of white and Asian children. According to the most recent U.S. Department of Education data, 76 percent of white and 73 percent of Asian children score at or above basic reading level compared to 46 percent of Hispanic children.

"The Community Reading Challenge helps create a culture of literacy by encouraging parents and children to read together," said Carol H. Rasco, president and CEO of RIF. "As children learn to enjoy reading, they are more likely to read to learn and excel in school."

This year's program consisted of four fun-filled literacy activities and a community reading celebration. The participating RIF sites were encouraged to use their imagination and creativity to come up with events that share the excitement of reading with children and their families. Some of the events included: buddy reading, author visits, field trips, guest readers, and a fiesta.

With the support of MetLife Foundation, each of the winning programs will receive $650 Borders gift cards to purchase new books, a regional winner banner, and medals for each child participating in their programs.

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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.

Discover the Joy!

About MetLife Foundation
MetLife Foundation was founded in 1976. The Foundation supports programs that develop partnerships between schools and communities and strengthen relationships among parents, teachers and students. It also funds initiatives that increase opportunities for young people to succeed and give students and teachers a voice in improving education. For more information about the Foundation visit www.metlife.org

For more information, contact:
Layla Wright-Contreras,
Media Relations Manager
202-536-3528

 

RIF Announces Winners of the 2007 Hispanic Community Reading Challenge