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Senators Cardin and Van Hollen Secure $500,000 for Reading Is Fundamental to Bring Books and Reading Resources to Children in Baltimore, Maryland

Collaboration will support 15,000 Pre-K through 8th grade Maryland students 

Washington, D.C. – April 11, 2025 – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen in a demonstration of their deep commitment to 

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children's literacy, have successfully secured $500,000 in congressionally-directed spending to bolster the efforts of Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) in Maryland. This funding comes as a result of the finalization of the Fiscal Year 2024 appropriations bills and will enable RIF, the nation’s leading children’s literacy nonprofit, to implement a comprehensive, supplemental literacy program in Baltimore, aiming to enrich the lives of children through the power of reading. 

“Reading is central to a child’s future success. That’s why we worked to deliver this investment in Reading Is Fundamental to support their efforts to help Baltimore students expand their learning opportunities and become strong readers,” said Senator Van Hollen, a member of the Appropriations Committee. “This important work will increase our children’s access to books and open doors for these young learners in Maryland to support their continued growth.” 

The initiative, slated to begin in the fall of 2025, promises to make a substantial impact on Maryland's youth, particularly in under-resourced communities. Senators Cardin and Van Hollen’s unwavering advocacy for children's literacy has paved the way for this endeavor, which seeks to provide invaluable reading resources and support to Maryland’s young learners. 

“Reading Is Fundamental applauds Senators Cardin and Van Hollen for their leadership on the issue of children’s literacy and through this funding, we will be able to grow our local literacy impact for the Baltimore community,” said Alicia Levi, RIF’s President & CEO. “We know that when we provide children with books, we are inspiring the joy of reading and helping them to become the skilled readers they need to be successful in school and beyond.”  

Through this one-year award, RIF, in partnership with local school districts and youth-serving organizations, will implement a multi-pronged program to support childhood literacy that will reach over 15,000 students from Pre-K through middle grades in under-resourced communities, providing: 

  1. books to build students’ home libraries,  
  2. book collections to enhance school libraries 
  3. access to RIF’s interactive eBook service, Skybrary 
  4. accompanying reading resources to drive engagement 
  5. educator-facing resources and professional development to complement existing classroom practices 
  6. parent engagement materials 

RIF has long been committed to supporting children’s literacy by building capacity for educators and empowering families across Maryland in creating an ongoing culture of literacy.  With a history of local literacy impact and collaboration across the state, RIF’s trusted reading resources and ability to deliver high-quality print and digital books make them an ideal lead for this initiative. 

Students, educators and families within Baltimore can anticipate the positive impact of Reading Is Fundamental’s programs and content as this project kicks off in the new school year. By providing access to quality reading materials and supporting educational resources, this program aims to empower Maryland’s youth to further their love of reading, so they can become proficient readers and reach their full potential. 

About RIF: 

Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) is committed to creating a nation of lifelong readers by inspiring the joy of reading among all children, putting them on the path to becoming skilled readers. We provide free, high-quality content to engage children, educators, families, and literacy advocates in the solution to the U.S. literacy crisis—so that every child has the fundamentals for success. As the nation’s leading children’s literacy nonprofit, RIF has provided nearly 430 million books and reading resources to nearly 190 million children since 1966, impacting generations of children. Explore our results and learn more about partnering with us at



Jennifer Moone, Reading Is Fundamental, Vice President of Marketing & Partnerships: