Reading Is Fundamental is the largest children's literacy nonprofit in the United States. RIF "prepares and motivates children to read by delivering free books and literacy resources to those children and families who need them most." The statistics regarding the long term effects of delayed reading for young children are very disturbing.
On April 17, 2012, Reading Is Fundamental (RIF), launched "Book People Unite," a bold awareness campaign to focus a spotlight on children's literacy nationwide. The campaign, anchored by a new Public Service Announcement (PSA) with beloved book characters and a star-studded soundtrack, aims to spark a movement to put books in the hands of children who need them most. The PSA is a collaboration among RIF, the Library of Congress and the Ad Council and was created by Mother New York.
In 2011, RIF provided 14 million books to 4 million children to keep as their own. Access to books continues to be one of the single most important factors in a student's success, but far too many of America's children do not have this most basic resource for learning.
There are 16 million children living in poverty in the United States, the highest number in two decades. Consider this:
- In low-income neighborhoods, there is only 1 book for every 300 children.
- By the time children from low-income families start kindergarten, they are a year behind their more affluent peers in literacy skills.
- Children who enter kindergarten behind their peers are three to four times more likely to drop out of school long-term.
- Only 32 percent of 4th graders read at a proficient level and 34 percent can't even read at the most basic.
- Less than half of all families read to their kindergarteners every day.
"While many children are falling further and further behind, so are their chances for a successful future. It is clear we don't just have an issue to solve, we have a movement to ignite," said Carol Rasco, president and CEO of RIF. "One book can spark a lifetime of ambition and we are asking the nation to join us in building a literate America where all kids can explore, dream and achieve. Together, we can realize our vision of a literate America."
If you're a Book Person, please join me and take the Book People Unite Pledge and declare your belief in the transformative power of books, especially for young minds. We can make a difference, one book, and one child at a time.