As a child, you may remember visiting your local Brooklyn Public Library every week on “RIF Day.” You may recall the librarian with the glasses way down upon her nose stamping your “special card” each time you made a visit and showed her you library card. Every three times you made a trip down to the library on the day designated for RIF, you would receive a book free of charge.
Yet, very soon, your children and the next generation will not have the privilege to take part in this literacy nonprofit program. Due to a loss of federal funding, RIF programs at the Brooklyn Public Library are scheduled to end on August 31.
RIF, or “Reading is Fundamental,” the largest children’s literacy nonprofit in America, motivates children to read by presenting them with free books upon their visits to the library. The excitement of earning a new book free of charge excites kids and pushes them to read it. Furthermore, in order to participate in this program, children must visit the library often. Increased visits may push them to take out books and read more than they would have.
Over the past 35 years, the Brooklyn Public Library has given out over 1 million books to children and teenagers through RIF. Ending this program can promote illiteracy, especially amongst those who cannot afford to purchase books, which will be extremely detrimental to the future of the next generation. America cannot afford to fall behind anymore. Statistics currently show that 33 percent of fourth grade public school students are at or below the basic reading level. Putting an end to RIF may even make this worse.
You can help save this wonderful program. Just visit www.rif.org/advocate to urge your federal representative to continue RIF funding. All you have to do is fill out the form, and an automatic email will be sent to your representatives on your behalf. Don’t let RIF disappear!