rainbow books

Books4Me-Reading Is Fundamental

After 40 years of service, BookSpring remains the local provider of Reading Is Fundamental model books for ownership activities. BookSpring serves over tens of thousands of children in Austin each year on dozens of AISD campuses, in local Head Start centers, and in other child development centers. These schools have a very high percentage of low socio-economic status children. They and their families need the inspiration and support of high quality reading materials that they can take home and make their own.

The Need

Children who do not have access to books and do not read regularly are vulnerable to a wide variety of negative social outcomes. They are at risk for educational failure, and lack the social support networks that help scaffold a child for success.

  • 61 percent of low-income families have no age-appropriate books at all in their homes for their children. (Reading Literacy in the United States: Findings from the IEA Reading Literacy Study. (1996).)
  • Students who read more frequently for fun have higher reading proficiency scores than those who read less frequently.
  • The average child growing up in a middle class family has been exposed to 1,000 to 1,700 hours of one-on-one picture book reading. The average child growing up in a low-income family, has only been exposed to 25 hours of one-on-one reading. (McQuillan, J. (1998). The Literacy Crisis: False Claims, Real Solutions. Heinemann.)

Our Approach

Reading Is FUNdamental provides “forever books” to Austin area children.

  • Children have the opportunity to choose and keep three books per year at no cost to them or their family.
  • Dozens of books are displayed, allowing children to explore their interests and make their own choices
  • Librarians, teachers, and volunteers motivate children to read with exciting literacy-related activities at each RIF event.


Last year the Books4Me Reading is Fundamental programs in Austin put over 50,000 brand new books into the hands of children who might not otherwise have books of their own.