I remember growing up with enough books to build a fort. And I did just that. I would surround myself with books to read. As I got older I would read multiple books at a time, and I am so grateful that my mom was able to turn me on to reading. Part of the reason I am en-route to becoming a teacher is because I hope to one day inspire children in the same way I was. Reading is Fundamental; here's why:
Started in 1966 by Margaret McNamara, a school teacher, and a group of school teachers who distributed books to schools in Washington, D.C., Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) began as a way to give students and children the opportunity to have their own books.
With grants from foundations such as Ford Foundation and money from the United States Congress, RIF took a step further by being able to support children with free books across the Nation. By 1977, 1 million children received books and RIF is now serving 4.4 million (and growing) children a year. They are not only working to help America, but also spreading literacy programs in Argentina and the United Kingdom.
RIF's vision includes providing students with books all over America. No child should ever grow up without a good book to read! Their website offers many different opportunities for volunteers, parents, teachers, and children. There are articles and lists that help to educate parents and teachers, and even book lists of the new books out there for children.
Okay future English teachers (and every other teacher!), I know what you are thinking: How can I use this in the classroom? Well behold, there are multiple opportunities to incorporate the great knowledge from this website.
- There are opportunities for monthly activities that students and at-home children can engage in to encourage their curiosity with reading. These activities are offered in Spanish and English and they cover multiple content areas including Science, Math, and History. (So Elementary-Ed...you have options!)
- If you are looking for a good book, but don't know where to start, try the Booklists link where RIF offers multiple lists ranging from Newbery Winners to Young Adult books. These are always helpful because students will be able to read the latest and the greatest!
- As previously mentioned the articles offered by RIF are important for getting parents and teachers to understand the importance that reading holds in their child's lives. If you are looking for a shorter and briefer way to educate other teachers and parents check out the brochures that give quick and colorful advice.
- One of my more favorite parts of RIF's website is the Multicultural page. Here, there are many ways to see the best books for bilingual students, and books that incorporate different cultures into the classroom. I think it is so important to include the great variety that we have in our classrooms, so why not start with books?!
- In my future classroom I hope to have students that not only love reading but are engaged in spreading the great love for reading. I think that as a class, it would be a great community activity to have the students help raise money for organizations such as RIF. There are many opportunities to do this, and if the word is spread through students, parents, and teachers, then the options are limitless.
To find out more and to explore: http://www.rif.org/
P.S. Happy Valentines Day!
P.S. Happy Valentines Day!