Friday, March 19, 2010

R.I.F. Reading Is Fundamental

"Give a kid a book and you'll give a kid a break!"
"You're pretty smart, how'd you get so smart?" 
"READING!"

Three lines I'll never forget from a very memorable PSA (public service announcement). This series of PSAs typically aired during my favorite WPIX NY Channel 11 after-school television programming during the '70s and '80s .

It's funny watching the ad now. I remember everything about this commercial - from Ed Asner grabbing the little girl's nose in jest to the fact that I didn't really know what they were advertising exactly. I mean, I was just a kid. Other than suggesting we kids focus on reading and ironically not our after-school television shows, I had no idea RIF was and is such a great organization.



RIF is a  nonprofit dedicated to inspiring and motivating kids to read. It began in 1966. The following is taken directly from the RIF.org website...


"In 1966, former teacher Margaret McNamara brought a bag of used books to four boys in Washington, D.C., whom she tutored in reading. When she told the children they could each pick out a book to keep, their astonishment and delight led her to discover that these children, and many of their classmates, had never owned any books.
 
By that summer, Mrs. McNamara had gathered a group of school volunteers, and on November 3, 1966, they launched the book distribution and reading motivation program they called Reading Is Fundamental. 

From November 1966 through the early 1970s, RIF expanded from a pilot project at three elementary schools in Washington, D.C., to a program reaching children in 60 of the city's public schools.

In 1975, the U.S. Congress created the "Inexpensive Book Distribution Program" (IBDP) which provides federal matching funds to sites that qualify for RIF's national book program.

Today, through its contract with the U.S. Department of Education to operate the IBDP, now supplemented with private funds, RIF programs operate in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Guam. RIF is also affiliated with programs in Argentina and the United Kingdom. "


28 comments:

Pat Tillett said...

That's awesome!
I have a 7 year old grand daughter, who reads book, after book, after book. That makes me so happy!

Secretia said...

Reading is till the best thing for a kid to become good at.

Jerry said...

Wow, I don't remember this when I was a child nor was reading a big deal growing up. I regret that now. I am glad my daughter loves to get books and try to read them. =)

Melissa said...

Hey cool flashback. I always loved reading. Never saw this ad though. Funny.

little bird. said...

Reading is amazing.


I wish we had something like that here.

Copyboy said...

Thanks for helping me see this as more than just a silly commercial from my childhood. haha. BTW...am I crazy or did that commercial used to air right before TV PIX?

Babes Mami said...

I love programs geared towards reading. Sometimes schools seems so sports focused when we need to worry about things like this.

The Girl Next Door Grows Up said...

Ally, you find the coolest stuff. I watched it and totally remember that!

He was so young back then!

Anything Fits a Naked Man said...

I think I remember this commercial, too! I was an avid reader as a kid, and I'm positive it's made me a better writer today!

Just wanted to stop by and thank you for visiting and following my blog! I really, really appreciate it. I'm glad you did, I got to see your awesome site! I'm following you back, cheers!!

Bossy Betty said...

Love it! Reading makes you better-looking too. Don't you agree?

Tina said...

I think reading saved me and made me the person I am. When I was too shy to leave the house except for school, I had worlds to explore within the pages of my books.

Kate said...

We didn't have this in Canada, but we did have a wonderful amount peer pressure to order plenty of books when the Scholastic book order forms came around monthly to get a bunch of books.

I'm so glad I was raised in a bookworm family.

SPEAKING FROM THE CRIB said...

RIF is a great organization! i volunteered with them in college.

thanks for following me at the crib!

Lisa Anne said...

MY son loves to read. He's actually obsessed with reading. He read the whole Harry Potter series in two weeks. He finished the final book in 2 days. I love reading too, I guess it's a trait we share. lol

Riot Kitty said...

I did not know the alarming stats about illiteracy and near-illiteracy in this country until I became a volunteer tutor. I absolutely support reading initiatives at the earliest age - and I feel lucky that this is something I grew up taking for granted.

Ian said...

dang...never heard of that before!

Samantha said...

I'm already working with Bree on reading. I'm going to start Hooked on Phonics with her soon! She's not 3 yet, but I think she's ready :)

Lisa said...

I so remember RIF and the Bookmobile that used to park in the school lot! One of my favorite times in elementary school. I love how you bring back these long forgotten memories! :)

Mainland Streel said...

I've always been an avid reader and hope to pass that on to my kids someday. I love to hear about anything that feeds the love of learning in kids! :)

Richard @ The Bewildered Brit said...

Awesome ad! I love the nose-tweak at the end! :)

Jenny said...

What a great post. My Grands would rather read then watch TV. I've been reading to them since they couldn't even sit up.

My kids used to be like that...but now only two of them read voraciously.

My son has kind of abandoned it...although I've found some titles that I think might tempt him again.

RawknRobynsGoneBlogWild said...

I wish I had more encouragement to read as a kid. I definitely remember these commercials. It's hard to believe this all started in 1966 (the year I was born). We need them to air again.
Cheers,
Robyn

ASBLACKASOBAMA said...

I soooooo remember RIF! We had RIF reading challenges! If we read the amount of books on the RIF quota we got a gift certificate for a cheeseburger or ice cream at Burger King or something like that....

I know that RIF helped me!

TS Hendrik said...

This post reminded me of "Book It" the Pizza Hut incentive reading program. Not that I needed incentive to read when I was a kid, but what the hey, they gave me mini pizzas for what I was already doing. Like I'm going to argue.

Kato said...

Anything that encourages kids to read is aces in my books!

xoxo

Erika said...

I so remember this commercial.

I was a hard core "Bookit" kid. I didn't even care about the pizzas though.

Powdered Toast Man said...

I think kids nowadays focus too much on video games. Technology is ruining our youth. No one plays outside anymore and certainly kids don't want to read. I wish that I read more often. I don't like reading when i have to like for school.

My fav author is Chuck Palahnuik. They are making the Rum Diary into a movie starring none other than Johnny Depp!

Joann Mannix said...

Thank you for highlighting RIF. It is such a noble, noble organization. I grew up in a home where money was scarce and my small collection of books was the most coveted thing I had. RIF was such a wonderful treasure box to me.

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