Reading Is Fundamental Launches "Read for Change"

Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) has launched Read for Change, a campaign to encourage all Americans to read with young children. This initiative is part of United We Serve, the national effort launched by President Obama on June 22 to engage more Americans in serving their communities this summer.

"One of the greatest services we can provide our communities is to ensure that all children obtain access to books and discover the joy and value of reading," said RIF President and CEO, Carol H. Rasco. "Today RIF is pleased to launch 'Read for Change' and we challenge Americans across the country to collectively log 3 million minutes of reading with children by September 11, 2009."

Participants can log their time at At the end of the campaign, RIF will randomly select five participants to receive a children's multicultural book collection as well as the opportunity to select a school in their community to also receive a book collection.

This effort by RIF, the nation's oldest and largest children and families' literacy nonprofit organization, projects to raise awareness about the impact of children's literacy on the long-term economic health of the country.

In addition to raising awareness of the issue of literacy, RIF is partnering with the Verizon Foundation to encourage participants to supplement these reading activities by visiting Verizon's web site ( The site contains thousands of free, educational resources for teachers, parents and students, including K-12 lesson plans, online educational activities, videos and other materials designed to strengthen literacy development, creativity and develop the critical thinking skills needed for success in the classroom and the workplace.

Reading to children becomes particularly important during the summer months, when children lose knowledge gained during the school year. The magnitude of this phenomenon, known as the "summer slide" or the "summer slump," is strongly affected by family income -- students from low-income families experience over two months summer learning loss in reading achievement, according to the Johns Hopkins Center for Summer Learning.

To help meet growing social needs resulting from the economic downturn, the Summer Service Initiative, launched by the White House, aims to both engage new volunteers in expanding the impact of existing organizations and to encourage "do-it-yourself" projects. The focus of the initiative is economic recovery, with the support of education and literacy for all Americans as a main component. Within the literacy component there are three specific focus areas: reading with kids, book drives and distributions, and library card registration drives.

"RIF is pleased to join with our partners to participate in United We Serve, and thanks the President for making this call to service this summer and beyond," added Rasco.

To participate in Read for Change, people can log their minutes read with a child at To learn more about this and other local volunteer opportunities in your community, visit