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Reading Is Fundamental Could Be in Trouble

Jim Taylor over at Psychology Today's The Power of Prime blog brings to light some possibly troublesome news on the reading front: The Obama...


Jim Taylor over at Psychology Today's The Power of Prime blog brings to light some possibly troublesome news on the reading front: The Obama administration's 2011 budget strips federal funding away from the Reading Is Fundamental program.

Instead of the guaranteed federal money, states will compete for literacy-related funding, and, if they are successful, be able to choose to get resources from several different programs-one of which is Reading Is Fundamental.

Taylor says this is a big mistake:
Why is RIF so important? As the program's name suggests, reading is fundamental to future academic success, upward mobility, and economic security. Yet, if you've seen any of the research on reading proficiency in the U.S., you would be appalled. Thirty-six percent of American 4th graders read below the "basic" level on reading tests and that percentage increases to 54 percent for economically disadvantaged children. And reading proficiency among high-school students in the U.S. has been on the decline for years. Moreover, fewer than half of families read to their young children every day and, by 8th grade, only 19 percent of children read on their own daily. Oh, by the way, an estimated 40 million adults can't read a story to a child. For many young children, RIF gives them the opportunity to learn to read and prepare for future success in school. And, for our country, RIF helps prepare these children to be vital and contributing members of our society.

Taylor does note that Reading Is Fundamental has a more than four-decade track record, not to mention a presence in all states-in the form of 400,000 volunteers.

It'd be a shame if Reading Is Fundamental fell out of favor with some states, but with its name recognition and its tentacles flexed all across the country, it's hard to see it not getting most of that funding anyway-just in a roundabout (and perhaps inefficient) way.

That said, until the end of this week, you can join Reading Is Fundamental's own internal effort to have its funding restored.












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