RIF, CIS-New Orleans, and National PTA Launch United We Read—A Joint Initiative in Support of President Obama's United We Serve
2,500 children to receive free books during week-long literacy celebration in New Orleans
WASHINGTON, August 17, 2009—Reading Is Fundamental (RIF), Communities In Schools (CIS) New Orleans, and National PTA have joined to launch United We Read, an initiative in support of the United We Serve national effort launched by President Obama to engage more Americans in serving their communities this summer.
Beginning the week of August 17, approximately 2,500 children in six New Orleans schools will receive free books, as well as a United We Read backpack that includes parent and family resources from PTA, RIF, and CIS. Throughout the course of the school year, the CIS-New Orleans RIF program will provide the children with a total of 7,500 free new books.
The office of Congressman Joseph Cao (LA-2) made an address during the kickoff ceremony at Fischer Accelerated Academy this morning, and the school was presented with a Multicultural Book Collection, sponsored by Macy's. Also joining this unique project were country singer Sammy Kershaw, actor/comedian Harry Shearer, New Orleans Hornets broadcaster Gil McGregor and award-winning children's book author Whitney Stewart—all emphasizing to the children how reading is fun for people from all walks of life, and how reading has been important in their own careers.
Throughout the literacy celebrations taking place in the six schools, children will choose free books, listen to read-a-louds by special guests, and participate in a number of exciting activities aimed at motivating children to read.
The participating schools from Algiers Charter School District include:
William J. Fischer Accelerated Academy
Dwight D. Eisenhower Academy of Global Studies
Martin Behrman Charter Academy of Creative Arts and Sciences
McDonogh # 32 Literacy Charter School
Also participating in the literacy celebrations and book distributions are the following:
Benjamin Franklin Elementary
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Charter School
The New Orleans Public Library also participated in the initiative by distributing United We Read backpacks to children who attended their summer reading program in early August.
Time spent reading with children during these events will be captured and logged on RIF's Read for Change website—a campaign also supporting United We Serve. The campaign aims to highlight the importance of reading with young children and has the goal of collectively logging 3 million minutes of reading with children by September 11, 2009. See www.RIF.org/readforchange.
About CIS-New Orleans
Communities In Schools of New Orleans is the Louisiana affiliate of the nation's largest dropout prevention organization. Founded in 1996, Communities In Schools New Orleans is working with ten K-12 schools in New Orleans, coordinating direct services for students that help them stay in school, learn, achieve, and be prepared for life. More than 70% of Communities In SchoolsÕ tracked students show improvement in academic achievement, attendance, behavior and promotion to the next grade level. Visit our website at www.CISNewOrleans.org.
About National PTA
PTA comprises millions of families, students, teachers, administrators, and business and community leaders devoted to the educational success of children and the promotion of parent involvement in schools. PTA is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that prides itself on being a powerful voice for all children, a relevant resource for families and communities, and a strong advocate for public education. Membership in PTA is open to anyone who wants to be involved and make a difference for the education, health, and welfare of children and youth.
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 RIFÕs website at www.RIF.org.
Mitchell Schmale, RIF
James Martinez, PTA
(312) 670-6782 Ext. 325
Sara Massey, CIS
Brandon Armant, Algiers Charter Schools