Ninety-three million adults in the United States read at or below the basic level needed to contribute successfully to society. That is almost one-third of the U.S. population and, with the never-ending illiteracy cycle that we have in our country today, this number is growing each and every day.
The harsh fact is that for many of these adults, this is a reality they have had to deal with since they were kids. Starting as young as five, kids are falling behind and beginning on a path that can be one of the roughest they will ever take.
While some have the opportunities to get the help they need, the 16 million children who live in economically disadvantaged communities have a significantly lower chance of catching up with their peers.
At Reading Is Fundamental (RIF), we want to give those kids -- and all kids -- the chance they need to reach their full potential. It starts with giving a child the opportunity to select books that they can call their own.
The power behind this simple act can be life changing, as Sangita and Ketan reminded us earlier this year. Being RIF kids themselves, the two reached out to us when they came across Ketan’s first RIF book – 29 years later. Sangita told us: “My husband and I came from less-fortunate backgrounds. RIF opened the door to a whole new world of reading for both of us and contributed to our growth as adults. He's an electrical engineer and I'm a CEO of a children's education company."
Reading is extremely important in furthering an education and accomplishing everything one sets out for in life, but it is also the key that unlocks an imagination. Opening up their minds and experiencing adventures that they never knew possible broadens a child’s perspective in life and allows them to believe anything is possible. “Literacy leads to freedom, opportunity, and success” as Ketan put it, and RIF is proud to continue championing literacy for all children.