Several notable celebrities including Al Roker, Jerry Seinfeld, and Billy Crystal are participating in the 2009 Read with Kids Challenge as honorary team captains to show their support of Reading Is Fundamental and children's literacy. Through the Challenge any participant can join a team lead by their favorite honorary team captain.
For the second year in a row, US Airways has joined with Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) to sponsor the Challenge aimed at collectively logging 5 million minutes spent reading with children from April 1-June 30. Participants can register and log their minutes online at RIF.org/readwithkids. RIF is the nation's oldest and largest children and families' literacy nonprofit organization.
"It's truly an honor to see this level of support from so many well-known figures and children's book authors who understand the importance of reading to kids," said Carol H. Rasco, president and CEO of RIF. "Their involvement will help raise awareness about RIF's mission to make reading a fun and beneficial part of everyday life for all children."
Also included in the list of honorary team captains are award-winning authors such as Eric Carle, Sandra Boynton, Peter Reynolds, Suzy Becker, Mo Willems, and Uma Krishnaswami. Radio personality Russ Parr of the Russ Parr Morning Show; Carmelo Anthony, NBA star for the Denver Nuggets; and Baltimore Orioles outfielder Nick Markakis have also signed on as honorary team captains.
There are many ways for parents, teachers, and others who read with children to participate in the Challenge. In addition to joining a team led by an honorary team captain, participants can join as individuals or create their own team.
• A grand prize of a Walt Disney World® Resort vacation package from US Airways Vacations.
• US Airways gift cards and monthly prizes.
• A special do-gooder prize for teams—the opportunity to select a featured RIF program, as well as a school in their community, to receive a special children's book collection.
• During the month of May only, participants who log time spent reading with kids will be automatically entered into a random drawing to win Snuggie™ blankets and portable book lights.
US Airways, the official airline of RIF, is encouraging customers, employees, and readers nationwide to support children's literacy by making a donation to RIF. Donors can receive a special edition of Off You Go, Maisy!, a children's book by best-selling author Lucy Cousins—and be eligible to receive up to 5,000 US Airways Dividend Miles. The Read with Kids Challenge achieved overwhelming success its first year with more than 16,000 participants logging 3.8 million minutes of reading. So far this year, more than a million minutes have been logged.
"Since RIF started 43 years ago, we've had a number of celebrities support the mission of our organization. It is truly a gift to see their continued involvement," adds Rasco.
Follow the Challenge on Twitter@rifweb and use hash tag #readwithkids.
About Reading Is Fundamental, Inc. (RIF)
Reading Is Fundamental, Inc. (rif.org), founded in 1966, motivates children to read by working with them, their parents, and community members to make reading a fun and beneficial part of everyday life. RIF’s highest priority is reaching underserved children from birth to age 8. Through community volunteers in every state and U.S. territory, RIF provides 4.6 million children with 15 million new, free books and literacy resources each year.