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Wenatchee Youth to Benefit from Launch of New RIF Program

WENATCHEE, WASHINGTON, July 16, 2007 — Through a grant from Reading Is Fundamental, Inc. (RIF), Columbia Elementary School has launched a new RIF program that will provide free books and literacy resources to approximately 400 youth in grades kindergarten through five in Wenatchee, Wash.

Children involved in the Columbia Elementary School's RIF program will have the opportunity to choose five new books that they will be able to keep at no cost to either to themselves or their families. Children, and their families, will also have access to a new customized RIF lending library. The first book distribution will be held in October.

RIF is the nation's oldest and largest nonprofit children's and family literacy organization. Founded more than 40 years ago, RIF's literacy programs embrace three elements that 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 at more than 20,000 sites.

"The best way to learn to read is to read," stated Fay Crawford, Columbia Elementary School's principal and RIF program coordinator. "We are thankful to RIF for supporting our efforts to engage our students in the joy of reading and thus improve their literacy skills. The books that RIF will provide our students will add to, or be the beginning of, their own home libraries."

"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 at who read for fun perform better on reading tests.  RIF looks forward to working with the Columbia Elementary School to help the children of Wenatchee develop a lifelong love of reading."

With the support of Congress, the U.S. Department of Education and private funders, last year RIF distributed more than 16 million books to nearly 4.5 million children across the country. Almost 89 percent of the federal funds were used to purchase books. In addition, RIF volunteers leveraged the federal dollars to raise an additional $9.2 million to support book ownership. In the state of Washington RIF and its volunteers distribute approximately 290,320 new books annually to more than 29,000 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 Columbia Elementary School’s RIF program, contact Fay Crawford at (509) 662-7256.

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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

Wenatchee Youth to Benefit from Launch of New RIF Program