Program success stories

Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) works closely with educators, families, literacy advocates, and corporate and foundation partners to ensure that more children in underserved communities experience the joy of reading—the pathway to becoming a skilled reader. Hear from people on the frontlines of the literacy crisis as they describe how our programs and partnerships are changing lives.

Kids huddled outside together reading books

 Thomas Jefferson School in Union City, New Jersey: Support students’ independent learning with RIF books and reading resources  

A partnership to bring reading fun to over 100 first grade students through an employee engagement-led literacy initiative that included Amazon employee volunteers bundling and distributing literacy kits to under-resourced community. Read more about our partnership with Amazon.

Our school community is composed of Pre-K - 4th grade students in an urban district of NJ. We service special needs, bilingual, and general education populations. Our student body is composed of mostly minorities, predominantly Latino. Our students are full of energy and curiosity. They are always hungry for more knowledge. We are thankful for programs like RIF that give students the chance to expand their learning. RIF is so important to our students and due to the different resources they provide, students can continue their learning at home. With RIF resources and programs, we are able to provide our students with the ability to explore different learning opportunities. It is also designed in a way that promotes independent learning at home. Reading is the foundation of education. We must foster a love for reading and allow children to get lost in a book.

- Marilyn Fernandez, Bilingual At-Risk Leader 

kids in a classroom reading



Fountain Elementary School in Forest Park, Georgia: Feeding young minds with high-quality books for every 1st grade student to take home and own 

A six-year partnership bringing RIF’s Books for Ownership program, in partnership with International Paper, to all first-grade students annually. 

I love that the program brings books into children’s lives. Many of my students do not have any books at home and are only exposed to the leveled readers we have in our classrooms. They love getting to take home favorites like Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus. My kids want to read these books and there is such a variety of titles. Every year I set up a ‘French Café’ for my students to visit and to choose their books because a good book feeds your mind—they love it!

- Natasha Letze, Media Specialist

Natasha Letze headshot for RIF


South Euclid Lyndhurst City Schools in Lyndhurst, Ohio: Creating inspired middle school readers through book ownership, providing many students with their first books to take home and own 

Serving as a pilot site for RIF’s new middle school family literacy-focused initiative, 600 middle school students benefitted from an enhanced culture of literacy in their school community. 

Our community is an inner ring suburb of Cleveland. We are a title one school and many of our students are on the free/reduced lunch program. Many of our families do not have books in their home and cannot or do not take their children to the public library. Our students were thrilled to be able to have books they could keep.  Many of our teachers reported that in the weeks following our RIF book selection days, students were still using the RIF bookbags and carrying their books with them every day.  When they completed their work, they pulled out a book and read. It is one thing to read something assigned in class, but when students have their own personal books that they have selected, the ownership creates a connection to reading.

- Lisa Hubler, Library Media Specialist      


The Trenton Literacy Movement, Inc. in Trenton, New Jersey: Expanding community-wide literacy impact and building capacity for a leading local literacy non-profit

A multi-year partnership reaching over 1,000 students in grades K-3, that has infused literacy resources in the community- including literacy kits rich with books and reading resources, in partnership with Starbucks, and a matching grant to build home libraries, in partnership with Macy’s. Read more about our partnership with Macy's.

The Trenton Literacy Movement (TTLM) serves a community of diverse learners with a large Black and Brown population of students reading below grade level.  Our Mission at TTLM is to enable our community of learners in elementary school throughout the Trenton district to read on grade level by third grade. I have researched many non-profit literacy focused organizations over the last 5 years and found RIF to meet the criteria I was looking for: Material that was backed by research to provide proven reading enrichment. This was coupled with parent support and engagement. The material was transferable from the classroom to the community to the home environment. In addition, RIF provides access to a library of age-appropriate diverse books and resources available at the RIF bookstore online. All these resources are accessible to teachers in the classroom and parents at home. They are also available to literacy advocates like me in the community. RIF has allowed TTLM to vastly expand its reach not only in the classroom but beyond the classroom and into the homes and the communities where our children live and play.

- Edward W. Bullock, President  

RIF Partner impact success stories Trenton New Jersey classroom students and books

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Young boy student holding an open book