A long while ago I posted about my fond memories of the Reading is Fundamental program. I never knew of the possibility of my schools falling into the low-income or at risk area categories -- all I knew was that I got books to call my own. When I wrote that initial post in 2004 - I wasn't a mother yet. Now I find my daughter enjoying the books I received, as a child, from RIF (even if she is just looking at the pictures - she is only 2). The program is accomplishing its goal in a new generation.
I don't think words can express the sadness I felt upon reading following (which I found via librarianwoes):
Press Release February 7, 2008
President Bush Eliminates Funding for Reading Is Fundamental’s Historic Book Distribution Program Serving 4.6 Million Children
Statement from Carol H. Rasco, president and CEO, of Reading Is Fundamental
"President Bush’s proposed budget calling for the elimination of Reading Is Fundamental’s (RIF) Inexpensive Book Distribution program would be devastating to the 4.6 million children and their families who receive free books and reading encouragement from RIF programs at nearly 20,000 locations throughout the U.S.
“Unless Congress reinstates $25.5 million in funding for this program, RIF would not be able to distribute 16 million books annually to the nation’s youngest and most at-risk children. RIF programs in schools, childcare centers, migrant programs, military bases, and other locations serve children from low-income families, children with disabilities, foster and homeless children, and children without access to libraries. The Inexpensive Book Distribution program is authorized under the Elementary & Secondary Education Act (SEC.5451 Inexpensive Book Distribution Program for Reading Motivation) and is not funded through earmarks. It has been funded by Congress and six Administrations without interruption since 1975.
“Since its founding in 1966, RIF’s programs have played an important role in improving literacy in this country. The U.S. Department of Education has shown that the number of books in a child’s home is a significant predictor of academic achievement. In addition, RIF programs also support academic achievement by involving hundreds of thousands of volunteers and other caring adults in encouraging children to read for fun. We urge all Americans to contact their Congressional representatives and ask them to reinstate funding for this important program.”
If you have the time - write someone of authority and ask them to save RIF - by doing so they'll be saving generations of readers.