Monday, October 17, 2011

Classic Clip Monday: RIF, Reading is Fundamental

Raise your hand if you remember RIF: Reading Is Fundamental.

Now raise your other hand if you ... were never really sure what it was.

I guess it was a literacy program? That gave poor kids free books? And I shouldn't be speaking of it in the past tense, because it's still around. But of course is in trouble, as everything is in these days of budgets being pruned left and right.

RIF's origin story is truly touching. "Margaret McNamara knew there was something special about giving children the power to make choices. But she didn't know her simple act of kindness—bringing a few used books to four boys she was tutoring—would start a reading revolution. That was more than four decades ago. When the former teacher told the children they could choose a book to keep as their own, their delight and astonishment led her to conclude that they, and other children, had never known the excitement of owning a brand new book. She knew it was extremely important to get more books into the hands of children who were learning to read but didn't have the resources. And she knew it was time to act."

Do you remember RIF--its PSAs, if nothing else?


Laurie said...

I absolutely do. To this day, whenever anyone has failed to read something important that is obviously right in front of them (signs, directions, instructions, etc) we say "RIF! Reading is fundamental!!" Obnoxious, but funny!:)

Sylko said...

I remember the "Reading is FUN-Damental" PSA's. I never knew what RIF was. I thought it was something to tell kids to read, but as a Reader, I didn't know why you had to convince anyone to read. I think it's cool they gave out books.

Anonymous said...

I remember it fondly! I still have a couple of books I got from it - one being a paperback American Heritage Dictionary that I still own and use. Only it is in two pieces now because I threw it at someone once (probably my brother!) and it broke in half. So when I think of how to look words up in the dictionary I think of them in terms of which half of it they would be in A-L or L-Z!