Kids will tell you it’s great fun to read a book and even better when you own it.
Thanks to the Reading is Fundamental (RIF) program, every student at Metz Elementary recently received two books to keep. That’s about 700 books in all. Books they can reread, put on their book shelf and share with friends and family.
RIF prepares and motivates children to read by delivering free books and literacy resources to children and families who need them most. The idea is to get kids reading early and help them to understand not just how important it is to be an avid reader, but how enjoyable it can be. RIF has placed an estimated 410 million books in the hands of more than 39 million children since it was established in 1966.
“Our students were just so thrilled and excited when we distributed the books,” said Metz teacher Nancy Dwire. “The look on their face was wonderful when they would ask, ‘are these for me?’”
After receiving a generous grant from RIF, a committee at Metz ordered a wide range of books and let students decide which ones interested them the most. “This means so much to our kids,” said Dwire. “That sense of choice and ownership is so important.”
Experts estimate that nearly 40 percent of U.S. 4th graders do not achieve basic levels of reading proficiency and the number is higher among low-income families, certain minority groups, and English language learners.
In March of 2011, Congress eliminated funding for RIF, forcing the non-profit organization to rely more heavily on grants and donations.
Macy’s Department stores are a national supporter of RIF and last summer Macy’s Be Book Smart campaign raised $2.6 million to provide nearly 900,000 books to children in underserved communities across America.
The Macy’s at the Flat Irons Mall sponsored the book give away at Metz. To show their appreciation, students sent pictures and thank you notes to the employees to let them know how grateful they are for the books.