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Funding cuts decrease access to books for 21,217 MN children


By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer


Children’s literacy programs, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are too often overlooked. However as school began this week, such programs as Reading is Fundamental (RIF) are operating without federal funding because Congress slashed it as part of a short-term budget deal earlier this year to buy time for lawmakers to pass a budget for the remainder of fiscal year 2011. Since 1966, the RIF program have given out over 400 million books to needy children for free — nearly 90 percent of its annual budget is used to purchase books and support local RIF sites, notes the program’s website. It also sponsor multicultural literacy programs, including over 700 multicultural book collections, early childhood literacy trainings and public education outreach by airing public service announcements on Black and Native American radio stations. RIF’s entire federal budget — $24.8 million — was cut. Continue Reading →

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