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Reading Is Fundamental, Inc. (RIF)

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Reading Is Fundamental is committed to a literate America by inspiring a passion for reading among all children, providing quality content and resources to make an impact, and engaging communities in the solution to give every child the fundamentals for success.

Founded in 1966, Reading Is Fundamental is the leading voice for children’s literacy and, in partnership with a grassroots network of over 1 million volunteers in schools and communities nationwide, has distributed over 422 million books and impacted the lives of more than 100 million children in the most at-risk communities.

As the nation’s largest children’s literacy non-profit, Reading Is Fundamental maximizes every contribution we receive to ensure all children have the ability to read and succeed. We do this by:

  • Engaging our network of over 18,000 program sites in communities nationwide
  • Providing new books and literacy support materials to children with the greatest need nationwide
  • Creating needs-based content to support varying literacy levels for children of all ages
  • Engaging educators and parents with actionable and trackable resources to drive children’s interest in reading and benchmark their progress
  • Partnering with government, corporate, and community organizations to provide national scale for local impact


There is a literacy crisis in this country. Twenty-five million children in the U.S. cannot read proficiently. Thirty-four percent of children entering kindergarten lack the basic skills to learn how to read, 65% of fourth graders read below grade level, and only 37% of students graduate high school at or above reading proficiency. The literacy crisis does not stop at the inability to read. Its ripple effect touches every facet of society from individuals, to community, to corporate America, and the economic impacts are staggering: 

  • lliteracy costs the U.S. economy $225B each year. 
  • 20% of Americans read below the level needed to earn a living wage. 
  • 85% of juvenile offenders have problems reading. 

RIF addresses this issue at a a grassroots level, starting with getting books and literacy content and materials into the hands of children nationwide, with a focus on those children most at-risk. As America’s champion for children’s literacy, Reading Is Fundamental gives kids the confidence to strive, because literacy opens doors to a better life.


A productive, thriving nation is dependent on a literate society. Every child deserves an opportunity to own books, learn how to read, and obtain the fundamental building blocks needed to achieve their highest potential. The literacy crisis is real, the impact is staggering, and the need is growing. JOIN US. When we help children develop strong reading skills, we provide them with the confidence to strive – for anything.