Reading Is Fundamental is proud to be a partner of American Graduate Day 2015! The TV event will be broadcast live on PBS member stations on Saturday, October 3 from 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. EST from Tisch WNET Studios in New York City. American Graduate Day is about leveraging the power and reach of public media to focus on organizations and individual Champions working tirelessly to keep kids on the path to graduation.

American Graduate Day centers around a number of critical themes that relate to learning success, and RIF will be participating in the Early Education aspect of the day alongside partners that share our goals. We’re thrilled to announce that an interview with one of RIF’s 2015 Volunteers of the Year, Ellen Halliday, will be featuring prominently as part of the broadcast. Ellen is a RIF Coordinator from the Youth & Family Services at Brooklyn Public Library, and we couldn’t imagine a better ambassador for the work RIF does nationwide to support children’s literacy.


Ellen Halliday in action!

Ellen Halliday in action!


Want to get involved in helping students succeed in school and beyond? American Graduate Day offers 7 Simple Steps To Become A Champion. Also, viewers are encouraged to share questions and ideas before and during the broadcast using the hashtag #AmGrad. We’ll have more on this exciting partnership over the weeks ahead, as we work together to build a Grad Nation!

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Wednesday August 26 is National Women’s Equality Day and we’re celebrating this important occasion the best way we know how – with  inspirational, fun books! Here are  three of our top picks for kids that celebrate women’s equality.


Amelia to Zora: Twenty-six Women Who Changed the World, Cynthia Chin-Lee

Amelia-to-ZoraAn A-Z book with a difference! Including entries as diverse as Dolores Huerta, Lena Horne and Maya Lin, Amelia to Zora is a celebration of 20th century women who made vital contributions to the fields of art, science, journalism and beyond. Their incredible stories are told through compelling introductions and beautiful artwork, as well as quotes from the women themselves. Once you’ve read the book, RIF has a fun activity sheet to accompany it!


Rosie Revere, Engineer, Andrea Beaty & David Roberts

Rosie RevereWith her bright red polka-dot headscarf, budding engineer Rosie Revere embodies the “We Can Do It” spirit of the iconic Rosie the Riveter! Rosie’s great-great-great aunt used to build magnificent planes, but she’s never flown in one – so Rosie attempts to put that right! While things don’t quite go to plan, this vibrant story is a wonderful ode to creativity that sends out a message loud and clear: “The only true failure can come if you quit.”




Rachel Carson and Her Book That Changed the World, Laurie Lawlor & Laura Beingessner

Rachel CarsonWhen biologist Rachel Carson began to ask questions about the environment, powerful men tried to keep her quiet. However, she refused to stay silent about the effect that chemicals were having on our world and published her book, Silent Spring, in 1962. It was a huge success, and it sparked a global movement to protect the environment. This book tells an important and inspiring story about a woman who became a voice for our beautiful great outdoors.

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Win these awesome books by sharing your back-to-school memories!

Win these awesome books by sharing your back-to-school memories!

There’s nothing like hearing the words “first day back at school” to bring back some powerful memories from your childhood, and we’d like to hear yours! Maybe it was introducing yourself as the new kid in class, finding out who you were going to be sitting next to, or even getting lost on the way to your next lesson… These formative experiences tend to stick around for years to come, and with many children starting school this week, new memories are being created right now!

To commemorate back-to-school, RIF is giving away a set of five books plus cool RIF stuff to a random winner. All you have to do is share your favorite memory with us, in no more than a single sentence, by commenting underneath this blog post or on our Facebook page no later than noon EST on Wednesday, August 26. We’ll also share top posts as part of our ongoing #backwithbooks campaign.

To further celebrate this time of year, RIF has teamed up with Barnes & Noble College Booksellers as part of a matching gift campaign. For every dollar donated to RIF, Barnes & Noble College Booksellers will double the donation up to $50,000! That’s a lot of books for kids who need them most this school year. Visit to give, and in the meantime share your First Day stories with us!

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Do you remember what it was like going back to school after a long summer break? That funny feeling in your tummy, or maybe even some nerves about what challenges the new school year would bring?  Here are some of our favorite books to help kids get right back into the swing of things and head back to school with confidence!


The Kissing Hand, Audrey Penn, Ruth E. Harper & Nancy M. Leak


In this charming children’s classic, school is starting in the forest, but Chester Raccoon does not want to go. Mrs. Raccoon shares the family secret of the Kissing Hand, to let him know that her love stays with him any time the world feels a little scary. This is the perfect book to read to young children headed to school for the first time!




The Recess Queen, Alexis O’Neill & Laura Huliska-Beith

0-439-20637-5Mean Jean is the reigning Recess Queen, pushing around other kids and making sure she always gets her way. Until one day, a new kid by the name of Katie Sue comes over and catches her off-guard – by asking the bully to jump rope with her! An energetic rhyming romp, this is a great way to show that although bullies can seem scary, they’re just regular kids too.




The Invisible Boy, Trudy Ludwig & Patrice Barton

invisibleboyBrian is an invisible boy. No-one invites him to their parties or games, but he loves to draw. When a new kid, Justin, comes to school, Brian is the first to make him feel welcome. They team up on a class project, and Brian’s dazzling talent shines bright! A perfect resource for quieter children, The Invisible Boy is all about the difference a small act of kindness can make.




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Yes, it’s that time of the year again! New friends, challenges, and teachers await – if you’re like us, heading back to school is an exciting and slightly nerve-wracking experience! But the sad truth is that many children have spent their break deprived of anything to read, and the consequences of a summer without books are devastating: 47 percent of fourth graders from low-income families score below the basic level in reading.


With your help, Reading Is Fundamental and Barnes & Noble College Booksellers are determined to send kids back to school with bags full of books and a future full of promise! When you give to RIF between now and the end of September, the Back to School champions at Barnes & Noble College Booksellers will double your gift up to $50,000.

You can donate at, and help spread the good word using the #backwithbooks hashtag over the weeks ahead! Let’s send kids back to the classroom with those schoolbags jam-packed with fun, inspiring books.

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Students! We know how much you love to engage on social media, so the National Association of College Stores (NACS) and Reading Is Fundamental have teamed up to be your enablers for National Student Day (NSD)! We’re giving out some seriously valuable prizes in support of children’s literacy, and all you have to do is snap a selfie in your local campus store and share it on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #GIVEME5NSD – that’s it! Five randomly selected students will win $500 in-store credit just for entering, and for every student who participates, NACS will make a donation of $1 (up to $5000 total) to Reading Is Fundamental.

The contest runs from September 24 to October 22, with National Student Day taking place on October 8. NSD is all about focusing on service and celebrating student success, and campus stores across the USA and Canada will be busy celebrating their students’ hard work with a whole bunch of fun events! For more information on NSD and the contest, head on over to or find it on Facebook and Twitter.

Now get out there and get snapping! You totally would anyway, right? The best part is, you get to win stuff and support children’s literacy too!

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This fall, Ralph Lauren and Quilted Koala are donating a portion of their sales to support Reading Is Fundamental for books for kids who need them most.

From legendary designer, Ralph Lauren comes their Global Literacy Pony T-shirt, part of the charitable collection to support children’s literacy and education worldwide.  For every t-shirt sold, Ralph Lauren will donate 25% to RIF. Kids will love the design and you’ll love that proceeds to go a worthy cause – books for kids! They’re available online and at select Macy’s locations nationwide. Offer available now through October 31, 2015.


To celebrate the launch of the World of Eric Carle Collection, Quilted Koala is offering customers a 20% discount on all Quilted Koala products, including the Very Hungry Caterpillar collection! Quilted Koala will donate 10% of sales to Reading Is Fundamental. Available online now through September 30, 2015 – enter RIF at checkout to receive the discount and spark the donation.

Be fashion-forward by giving back this school year!

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As summer comes to a close and the school year approaches, RIF has a few tips and family resources to make the transition from summer to fall as smooth as possible.

Helpful reminders:

  • Ease into a new routine – from weekday dinners to homework and extracurricular activities, develop a routine that works for everyone and stick to it!
  • Sleep tight – set specific bedtime and wake up routines to ensure you and your family get much-needed sleep to feel refreshed each day.
  • Eat smart – make sure you and your family enjoy healthy meals and snacks that include whole grains, proteins, fresh fruit and vegetables to feed your brain.
  • Be active – include physical exercise or play time in your routine to get the heart pumping and promote a healthy lifestyle. Jumping rope, playing tag football or Frisbee golf as a family can be a lot of fun!

In addition, check out these enriching games and activities on RIF.ORG:

Also, our friends at LeapFrog have been hosting a free online summer camp and have terrific back-to-school resources and ideas to motivate and prepare kids for school.

Have a fantastic new school year ahead!

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We Did It!

BBS Post Campaign Image All

Thanks to Macy’s and the Be Book Smart campaign, we’ll be giving more than half a million books to kids who need them most. That’s a lot of books! And a lot of possibilities for children who wouldn’t otherwise have a book to call their own.

A big thanks goes out to Macy’s, their store associates and customers for making the 2015 Be Book Smart campaign a huge success!

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RIF has incredible resources to encourage reading and learning during the summer, including lists of our favorite books, games and downloadable activities perfect for the whole family, including a fun, shareable children’s book quiz!

We’ve also partnered with some of the best names in children’s literacy and learning to help children across the country discover a love of reading. Check out PBS KIDS Summer Safari for daily tips and adventures in science, social studies and more! Also, be sure to tune in to the PBS KIDS twitter party on July 15 at 2pm EST. Our very own Dr. Judy Cheatham will join the conversation! #PBSKIDSLearn.

Looking for additional resources? Visit Leapfrog’s Summer Camp where kids can explore the world around them online and in person. These fun activities are perfect to keep kids laughing, thinking and learning this summer.

Are you up for a challenge? The National PTA is currently hosting a Family Reading Challenge for families to read together and create memories to last a lifetime. The Challenge is a terrific way to stay engaged all summer long.

RIF is constantly updating our free online resources so check back often to discover new opportunities to inspire reading throughout the year!

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