SEATTLE and WASHINGTO – With September marking National Literacy Month, Amazon and Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) announced today the culmination of their partnership to support student literacy. As part of Amazon’s Global Month of Volunteering, Amazon’s work includes providing youth with resources to drive more reading engagement opportunities. Through specialized literacy kits and various reading activities, the program served over 27,000 children nationally to inspire the next generation of lifelong readers in underserved and underrepresented communities.
As the nation’s oldest and largest non-profit children’s literacy organization, Reading Is Fundamental has a long history of partnering with organizations to ensure that kids of all backgrounds have access to books and literacy resources. This year, RIF joined Amazon as one of the partners in the company’s month-long initiative dedicated to positively impacting the communities where Amazon employees live and work. From August 15 through September 15, Amazon volunteers supported RIF’s commitment to ensure all children have an equal opportunity to read and succeed.
“Amplifying literacy within Amazon’s Global Month of Volunteering has shown tremendous impact in communities across the country. While children directly received diverse books focused on the theme of courage, we also demonstrated the importance of community involvement in driving reading engagement,” said Alicia Levi, President and CEO of Reading Is Fundamental. “Equipping Amazon’s team members with opportunities to connect around driving literacy has been incredibly rewarding for students, families, teachers, and volunteers alike!”
Thousands of Amazon employees volunteered for one of three RIF program opportunities to drive reading engagement including:
- Book Celebration Events: Through RIF’s flagship ‘Books for Ownership’ program— where children choose books they want to take home— employees in four cities, including Atlanta, Detroit, Baltimore, and Phoenix, helped with event set-up, supported children with book selections and reading activities and offered read-aloud.
- Literacy Kit: Employees gathered to put together over 25,000 literacy kits that went to local schools nationwide. Kits included a tote bag, three books, a bookmark, an activity sheet, and a coloring card.
- Book Talks: Amazon employees chose from a list of books to film a book talk – sharing with students why they love a book and how it inspired them. All book talk videos with the chosen book recommendation are available for viewing on RIF’s free resource website, Literacy Central.
“This partnership with RIF underscores Amazon’s commitment to inspiring the next generation of lifelong readers by reducing barriers to learning where our employees work and live,” said Jessica Margarit, Amazon’s Head of Operations Community Engagement, Americas. “Through the RIF program, we’re excited to engage communities to emphasize the importance of equitable access to education and reading for children no matter the culture, race, or background.”
For Gabriella Santos, an Amazon employee in Maryland, joining colleagues across the U.S. to support RIF’s programs during Amazon’s Global Month of Volunteering was personal. Her love for reading was ignited during monthly visits to a local bookstore in her Brazilian hometown.
“We would take a book home and treat it as a treasure to be explored and that could take us to so many places. I cherish those moments and can still remember the smell of those newly touched books, with so many stories and characters popping out of them,” Santos said. “Growing up, reading became my path to writing to express myself and shape how I view the world. I see my books as resources to navigate different areas and times of my life, and I hope that increasing the access of books to kids in Baltimore and across the country could serve as the same set of tools for their realities and future.”