Local RIF program recognized nationally

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By Kelly Cantrall

A local literacy program is receiving national attention this month.
The Reading is Fundamental program for Radcliff Elementary and North Park Elementary schools was recognized by the program at the national level this month. The RIF program is the largest literacy nonprofit in the country, and selects one of its 19,000 local-level programs to highlight each month.
The RIF program works to distribute books to students to help promote literacy and a love of reading. The local program in Radcliff has been active since 2001 under the leadership of coordinator Trish Morton, who participated in her first RIF distribution when she was in fourth grade. It has so far given out 37,091 books to students at the two schools.
Morton and the schools receive a grant every year to help purchase books to give out at a minimum of three distributions a year. Twenty-five percent of the money needed must be raised at the local level to be eligible for the grant.
Each book distribution is given a theme, such as the upcoming “Patriots Treasure their Freedom to Read,” which includes the Radcliff Elementary school mascot, the Patriots, and a treasure-island premise, Morton said.
There is a book selection committee that chooses which books to purchase, and each distribution typically has between 400 to 500 different titles for the students.
Morton learned in November that the Radcliff program was going to be recognized at the national level.
“To us, it’s just amazing that we were recognized,” she said.
Morton said she thinks the inclusivity they try to foster with the students might be what makes them stand out.
“We try to make sure that every student feels like a part of the program,” she said.
Morton is accepting donations to raise the local portion of the funds, because North Park is in danger of not having enough local funds to receive the grant in the future. Donations can be made at the school or by contacting Morton at (270) 300-1540.
The local program is highlighted on the national RIF website, www.rascofromrif.org/?p=14145.
Kelly Cantrall can be reached at (270) 505-1747.