Urgent Action Needed for RIF!
Statement by Carol H. Rasco, president and CEO of Reading Is Fundamental
WASHINGTON - February 14, 2011 - The Republican House leadership has released their proposed FY2011 Continuing Resolution which eliminates the funding for Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) and its nationwide services. Without this federal funding, over 4.4 million children and families will not receive free books or reading encouragement from RIF programs at nearly 17,000 locations throughout the U.S.
Unless Congress maintains a presence for RIF in the FY11 budget, RIF will not be able to distribute 15 million books annually to the nation’s children at greatest risk for academic failure. RIF programs in schools, community centers, hospitals, military bases, and other locations serve children from low-income families, children with disabilities, homeless children, and children without adequate access to libraries. The Inexpensive Book Distribution program is authorized under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (SEC.5451 Inexpensive Book Distribution Program for Reading Motivation); it has been funded by Congress and six Administrations without interruption since 1975.
Last fall RIF released a report from Learning Point Associates, an affiliate of the American Institutes for Research, noting the results of a meta-analysis of 44 studies classified as rigorous of the 108 examined in the overall review commissioned by RIF. The study found that access to print materials:
- Improves children’s reading performance
- Is instrumental in helping children learn the basics of reading
- Causes children to read more and for longer lengths of time
- Produces improved attitudes toward reading and learning among children
Since its founding in 1966, RIF has played a critical role in improving literacy in this country by providing new, free books for children to keep and build home libraries. Access to books and the power of choice ignite children’s hunger for knowledge and a passion for learning. On behalf of RIF and its network of over 400,000 volunteers nationwide, I urge all Americans to contact your congressional representatives and share your support for this vital program.