Students choose free books during a Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) distribution at schools in the Pine Bluff School District in February. Students were (front row, from left) Quentin Adams, Mekhi Adams, (back row from left) Jaimi Ingram, Charlese Colen, Jaikahb Ingram, KiAri Barkins, Charla Colen, Jared Ingram, Cedric Adams, and Charlston Colen. Special to The Commercial
Pine Bluff School District has received more than 2,500 new books this year as Part of a national effort by Reading Is Fundamental and First Book.
From this program, students in pre-K through 7 th grade in the Pine Bluff district will receive books to keep as their own.
Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) and First Book, two of the nation’s leading children’s literacy nonprofits have united to distribute 1 million new, high-quality children’s books to RIF programs nationwide throughout this school year. Primary funding for this initiative was provided by Macy’s, a long-time RIF partner along with support from several major children’s book publishers.
“We are also very fortunate to receive funding from the United Way of Southeast Arkansas to use toward the purchase of
RIF books,” said Monica O’Briant, RIF coordinator for the Pine Bluff district. “We are so grateful to receive such wonderful books for our students. This is the second time this year that we have been allowed the opportunity to apply for and receive free books.”
“For most of our students, this could possibly be the only reading materials they have in their homes. It gives them an opportunity to experience the pleasure of book ownership. Many students, as they get older, pass their books down to younger brothers and sisters,” O’Briant said.
This book distribution represents the second wave of 1 million books given out before major school breaks – critical times when many children in need lack access to books at home. The last wave of books will be distributed nationally before the summer break. In addition, RIF is also providing free activity sheets for children and parents to engage in fun reading-related projects as an extension of the books they bring home. The spring activity sheets are available at www.rif.org/springactivities.