Monday, March 03, 2008

US Airways and RIF Put Children's Books on Planes

TEMPE, Ariz. — US Airways has joined with Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) to launch a new early childhood literacy campaign, "Fly with US. Read with Kids," which features a free children's book for passengers traveling domestically during March, the online "Read with Kids Challenge," and support of RIF programs serving young children across the nation.

During the month of March, US Airways, the official airline of RIF, will distribute copies of best-selling author/illustrator Lucy Cousins' children's book “Come Fly with Maisy” to passengers on domestic, mainline flights to take and share with a child. The organizations' "Read with Kids Challenge" encourages Americans to read with young children during March, April, and May in an effort to log one million minutes reading. All entrants who log their time will qualify for a grand prize drawing of a family vacation to Walt Disney World® Resort in Orlando as well as other prizes. Participants can enter their time online at RIF.

"Reading, much like travel, is an adventure and a way to explore new worlds," said Doug Parker, US Airways chairman and CEO. "By teaming up with RIF on this first-of-its kind campaign, US Airways is helping foster literacy skills and a lifelong love of reading in children throughout the country - a key foundation for future academic and economic success."

The campaign also includes donating 80,000 books to 25,000 children in RIF programs. US Airways' 3,300-member employee volunteer corps, the Do Crew, will participate in RIF book distributions and reading rallies in communities where the airline has large employee concentrations: Boston; Charlotte, N.C.; Las Vegas; New York City; Philadelphia; Phoenix; Pittsburgh; Washington, D.C.; and Winston-Salem, N.C.

Reading Is Fundamental (RIF), founded in 1966, is the nation's oldest and largest children and families’ literacy nonprofit organization. RIF's programs work to improve literacy by providing children with free new books, promoting reading for fun, and involving caring adults-all proven to support academic achievement. Because research has shown the importance of early childhood language development, RIF's highest priority is reaching underserved children from birth to age 8. In 2007, RIF distributed 16 million books to 4.6 million children at nearly 20,000 locations, including schools, clinics, Head Start centers, and other sites throughout the U.S. RIF’s website offers educators, parents, and children advice and activities that support literacy.

US Airways is the fifth largest domestic airline employing more than 36,000 aviation professionals worldwide. US Airways, US Airways Shuttle and US Airways Express operate approximately 3,800 flights per day and serve more than 230 communities in the U.S., Canada, Europe, the Caribbean and Latin America. US Airways is a member of the Star Alliance network, which offers customers 17,000 daily flights to 897 destinations in 160 countries worldwide.

RIF and US Airways are sponsoring the Read With Kids Challenge, and those who participate may qualify to win a vacation to Walt Disney Resort or other prizes. US Airways' support of RIF is critical. About 37 percent of American fourth graders read below the basic level of the National Assessment of Educational Progress and 40 million adults in the U. S. can't even read well enough to read a simple story to a child.

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