Mission: Founded in 1981, Reading Is FUNdamental (RIF) Pittsburgh''s mission is to provide children with the resources, motivation and opportunities to develop a life-long love of reading.
Target demographics: We serve children from PreK-6th grade in Pittsburgh and the surrounding communities.
Geographic areas served: Allegheny County
Programs: Books for Keeps Program – Our largest program, Books for Keeps, provides more than 60,000 new, self-selected books to over 20,000 children, making us one of the five largest RIF affiliates in the country. Children at over 100 different schools, preschools, community centers, and after school programs participate in Reading Celebrations where they select a new, age-appropriate book, 3-5 times per year, throughout their elementary school years to take home and to keep for their very own. Our Reading Celebrations engage children in interactive activities centered on favorite children’s books, designed to emphasize the importance of reading while showing that it can be FUN! Choosing a brand-new book to keep helps create pride in book ownership and motivates children to learn to love to read. This year RIF Pittsburgh held over 1500 Reading Celebrations! Customized Books for Keeps Math and Science Programs – RIF Pittsburgh has partnered with both the PNC Foundation Grow Up Great program, the Bayer USA Foundation and the PPG Industries Foundation to create customized Books For Keeps programs to help increase science and math opportunities available to young children. Research indicates that combining reading activities with math and science instruction can open up new possibilities for learning. “The best way to promote science literacy is to expose students to a variety of books” (Gilson and Cherry, “Science in the Preschool Classroom,” 2002). Through specialized Reading Celebrations that combine storytelling, math activities, and interactive science projects, children will experience reading, math and science together in a connected and meaningful way. By tailoring our Reading Celebrations to engage children in hands-on math and science activities, we aim to give children the basic tools of exploration and discovery that will help prepare them to succeed academically, to open up new worlds of discovery, and build the foundations of a life-long love of learning. Read to your Family Program – This program is designed to engage parents and caregivers in their children’s reading development and encourage children to become proficient readers. Families have the opportunity to share in the excitement of reading a book together, which strengthens the learning experience in the home. Children receive recognition from teachers and principals, such as a special gold star on their classroom wall, each time they read a book aloud with a family member. This program also provides incentives for students to reach the Pittsburgh Public Schools’ 25 book reading goal, including educational games, books, or gift certificates to local book stores. Through family engagement, school recognition, and a system of incentives, this program emphasizes the importance of good literacy to families, while adding another layer of reading motivation for children. Last year, over 5,300 stories were shared as part of this program! Everybody Wins! – Everybody Wins! is a lunchtime literacy and mentoring program that pairs elementary school students with volunteers from local companies and other community organizations to share lunch, conversation, and good books. Founded in New York City in 1991, and brought to Pittsburgh in 2002, Everybody Wins! is a national organization that recognizes the many benefits of reading aloud to children one-on-one. Each week, during lunchtime, Everybody Wins! students and their community mentors, called Reading Buddies, are invited to read together. Students look forward to spending time with their reading mentor each week, and benefit from the encouragement of a caring adult, while mentors enjoy imparting their interest in literature to their student. Throughout the year, Reading Buddies encourage their students to discuss books at home with their families, and at the conclusion of each school year, parents, families, mentors and students come together to celebrate the students’ accomplishments. According to Beginning with Books, in the 2009-2010 school year, students at Pittsburgh Weil, King, and Phillips read over 3,300 books with their reading mentors! Storymobile – Storymobiles are libraries-on-wheels; bringing stories, activities, books, and parenting resources to public housing communities and childcare homes and centers throughout the greater Pittsburgh region. The visits are designed to promote and support reading and literacy-based activities for children and their families. Children can borrow from a diverse selection of age-appropriate, high quality books. The Storymobiles loan thousands of books annually to children, parents, and teachers.