RIF National Organization

Reading Is Fundamental, Inc. (RIF) is the nation’s oldest and largest non-profit children’s literacy organization. RIF was founded in 1966 by former teacher Margaret McNamara. She discovered that children she was tutoring in Washington, D. C., had never owned any books and decided to bring some used books for them. When Mrs. McNamara told the children they could choose a book of their own, their delight and astonishment led her to conclude that they, and other children, had never known the excitement of owning a brand new book. She knew then it was time to find a way to provide new books to other students like hers.

RIF President and CEO Alicia Levi states, “Reading is the necessary foundation for all children that puts them on the pathway for success. Every child deserves an opportunity to own books, learn how to read, and obtain the fundamental building blocks needed to achieve their highest potential.  With only 37% of high school graduates reading at or above proficiency, our work is more necessary than ever and, as I reflect on our efforts in 2017, I am optimistic that we can change this outcome for students by providing them with the gift of literacy to support them on life’s journey.”


Reading Is Fundamental is committed to a literate America where all children have the opportunities that literacy provides. Our model for impact is grounded in creating a culture of literacy for the children we serve – providing choice and access to books, as well as engagement opportunities for these children and the educators, parents, and caregivers that nurture and support them.


Reading Is Fundamental prepares kids for a lifetime of opportunity. Through partnerships with book publishers, volunteers, community groups, organizations, and like-minded corporations, RIF has distributed over 412 million books and impacted the lives of more than 40 million children in all 50 states. 

Magic happens when you give books to children:  eyes sparkle, smiles emerge, and imagination comes alive. That’s the mission embraced by RIF—to motivate children to have a lifelong, life-changing love of reading. This ignites a hunger for knowledge and a passion for learning.

To learn more about the national book distribution program, go to www.rif.org.