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To Read or Not to Read

To read or not to read? It isn’t even a question to me.

There’s nothing better than reading. There just isn’t. As a child, I loved becoming immersed in 2 or 3 books a week- and in the summer, make that 2 or 3 books a day.  I loved creating that visual moving picture in my head as my eyes gazed across the words. Every story- great or “meh”- was valued. I read through so many books, that my parents couldn’t keep up with me and I had to read and reread and seven-times-over read my beloved treasures. Blame that on my father for letting me (at 2 years old) climb up in his lap and point to the words while he read and my mother for encouraging it. “What’s that word?” “What’s this word?” And they would tell me every one of them. By the age of three I could read on my own.

To this day, I get excited by books, physical or digital. The lessons I’ve learned without having to suffer the failure myself are endless. The feelings of triumph I experience through some amazing character’s dedication inspires an intrinsic motivation to live in a way that brings me those same feelings through my own hard work and determination.

My one fear is that not enough youth read for pleasure. That they don’t understand what an incredible world is open to them with the power of a good book. That they don’t realize how much can be learned by reading for fun. I suffered as my two oldest children declined to enjoy my passion for reading… until they finally got “the one.” That one book that hooked them forever and made them avid readers.

Luckily. there are others organized in the quest to bring books and kids together.  Reading Is Fundamental(RIF) is a program that seeks to ignite the passion for books and is especially concerned with closing the literacy gap and giving access to books to those children who otherwise wouldn’t have reading materials.

With much excitement, RIF Pittsburgh is announcing a partnership with Pittsburgh resident and author, Sharon G. Flake.  Ms. Flake will be the spokesperson for RIF and work to get kids reading and increase literacy in the Pittsburgh area.

Read the RIF Pittsburgh press release that follows for more info.

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Sharon G. Flake-RIF Pittsburgh Press Release

Reading Is FUNdamental Pittsburgh Announces

Nationally Recognized Author Sharon G. Flake as Children’s Literacy Spokesperson

Reading Is FUNdamental (RIF) Pittsburgh is thrilled to announce renowned author Sharon G. Flake as its spokesperson for children’s literacy. Ms. Flake, whose home is right here in Pittsburgh, is a nationally recognized author of children’s and young adult books. Her award-winning books, Money Hungry, The Skin I’m In, and The Broke Bike Boy and the Queen of 33rd Street are enjoyed by young people around the world.

“We are so proud to have such a respected author help to advance our mission of providing children with the resources, motivation and opportunities to develop a life-long love of reading,” said RIF Pittsburgh Executive Director, Florri Ladov. “Through her partnership with RIF Pittsburgh, Ms. Flake will help to promote children’s literacy in the Pittsburgh community. Some of the new activities will include book clubs for children, special book reading events, as well as a new summer literacy program targeting 6th graders in the Hill District.”

“I am honored to serve in this role. My life-long passion has been to encourage young people to become readers, to see themselves in my books, and to continue to read and love books throughout their lives. Partnering with RIF Pittsburgh is the perfect complement to my own life’s mission,” said Ms. Flake.

Born in Philadelphia, Sharon G. Flake has been a Pittsburgh resident for more than 30 years. She is the author of seven books for children and young adults, and the winner of dozens of recognitions, including the Coretta Scott King Award, the YWCA Racial Justice Award, and the Detroit Public Library Author of the Year.

RIF Pittsburgh addresses critical literacy needs in our community by providing children with access to self-selected books, creating positive environments that motivate children to develop a life-long love of reading, and engaging families in literacy practices in the home. Last year, RIF Pittsburgh provided over 64,000 books and motivational reading activities to more than 20,000 economically disadvantaged children in the Pittsburgh community. Through its programs, RIF Pittsburgh is working to increase the reading opportunities available to underserved children and families, in an effort to reduce the literacy gap in our community.

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Simply Put- Pittsburgh has a new partner for making reading the answer for kids.

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