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RIF Awards July Programs of the Month

Programs serving children in Durham, N.C.; Grand Rapids, Mich.; and Weaverville, Calif.; recognized for their literacy efforts

WASHINGTON, July 9, 2009—Reading Is Fundamental (RIF), the nation's oldest and largest children and families' literacy nonprofit organization, has named its three Programs of the Month award recipients for July 2009. These three programs are based out of Durham County Library (Durham, N.C.), Grand Rapids Public Schools (Grand Rapids, Mich.), and Trinity County Schools RIF (Weaverville, Calif.).

"These three RIF programs have done outstanding jobs at motivating children to read," said Carol H. Rasco, president and CEO of RIF. "Studies show that children who read for pleasure do better in school. RIF is proud to recognize the work of these RIF programs for their achievement in helping children discover the joy and value of reading."

Durham County Library's RIF program provides 5,000 children of all ages with two RIF books every summer and has participated in RIF for more than 30 years. The library is known to be a hub of excitement for summer reading, involving thousands of youth last year. The library's summer activities for this year include reading incentives and challenges, themed story times, children's theatre performances, and author presentations. RIF distributions make the perfect bookends to the summer months of fun, with events in June and near the end of August. Past community partners who have joined the celebration include members of the local fire station, the health department, law enforcement, and even the library book cart drill team. Coordinator Karlene Fyffe, who is also the Youth Services Manager, encourages area supporters to participate in the RIF and Macy's 2009 Book a Brighter Future campaign at Macy's stores nationwide.

The Grand Rapids Public Schools RIF program serves 10,409 children at 35 sites. Thanks to RIF Coordinator Becca Walsh-Wolfe, this RIF program has created a partnership with Celebration Cinema, a local movie theatre chain in western Michigan. Last year, a fundraiser was started at the theater in Grand Rapids with a portion of ticket sales given to the RIF program. This year, Walsh-Wolfe and Celebration Cinema have expanded this partnership to include other RIF programs in Benton Harbor, Lansing, Mount Pleasant, Muskegon, and Portage. These programs represent almost 12,000 more RIF children and 58 sites in the partnership. An advertisement on the movie screen highlights RIF prior to the showing of films, helping increase awareness of an employee incentive program that awards employees who collect contributions, as well as an event/fundraiser celebrating the release of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

The Trinity County Schools RIF program serves 1,977 children from kindergarten to grade 12. Coordinator Kathy Martens does an outstanding job of managing RIF at 28 small schools with a great variety of motivational activities. Whether it's buddy reading, author discussions, poetry workshops, or reading in your PJs day-each site strives to find the best way to engage their readers. Started more than 30 years ago, the RIF program at Trinity County Schools is a proud literacy leader, going as far as decorating grocery bags for local stores with information to educate the community about RIF and the importance of reading.

RIF's Programs of the Month initiative was launched to honor the ongoing efforts of local programs to fulfill the mission of RIF, which depends on programs like these to promote children's literacy. Thanks to thousands of volunteers, children all across the country are discovering the joy of reading.

About RIF
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!

Layla Wright-Contreras,
Media Relations Manager

RIF Awards July Programs of the Month