Consumer Payment Card News

Read Me A Story

VISA U.S.A. has partnered for a third year with the ‘Reading Is Fundamental’ children’s literacy organization. VISA will continue to sponsor the “Read Me a Story,” national program by guaranteeing RIF a $300,000 minimum contribution, based on VISA card volume at participating merchants through May 31, 1999. Over the past two years, VISA’s “Read Me a Story” promotion contributed more than $2 million to RIF and more than 4 million stories have been read to children. This year, the program has been extended from two months to a ten month period, allowing VISA members to tie-in with the promotion at any time during the school year to coincide with their own reading promotions and marketing efforts. Members and merchants can support the campaign through cardholder statement inserts, point-of-purchase signage, and creating special reading events and activities nationwide.

FULL STORY:
Visa U.S.A. has partnered for a third year with Reading Is Fundamental (RIF), America’s oldest and largest nonprofit children’s literacy organization, for “Reading Me a Story,” a national program designed to help address America’s reading crisis. The program benefits RIF with Visa’s guaranteed $300,000 minimum contribution, related to Visa card sales transactions at participating merchants through May 31, 1999.

Why reading? It’s beeen documented that to succeed, kids need to read. According to recent studies by the U.S. Department of Education and the Carnegi Corporation:

More than 40 percent of fourth graders read below the basic level for their grade.

Reading aloud to children helps stimulate brain development, yet only 50 percent of infants and toddlers are routinely read to by their parents.***

Over the past two years, Visa’s “Read Me a Story” promotion contributed more than $2 million to RIF and more than 4 million stories have been read to children. Visa U.S.A. president and CEO Carl Pascarella said, “Visa is proud to continue a program that we believe will truly make a difference for our children and our nation’s future.”

This year’s Visa “Read Me a Story” program continues to encourage the use of American’s first Reading Checkup Guide, which was introduced in August 1997. The Visa “Read Me a Story” Reading Checkup Guide was devloped by Visa and RIF in conjunction with some of America’s leading educators and endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). The guide covers six stages of early reading development and is designed to give parents and caring adults practical information about how to help their children grow up.

“The AAP endorses the Reading Checkup Guide because we feel strongly that parents should have all the tools they need to help their children become strong readers,” said AAP President Joseph R. Zanga, M.D., F.A.A.P. Copies of the Reading Checkup Guide will be distributed through AAP pediatricians’ offices and through the “Read Me a Story” web site.

“Far too many children are growing up without the reading skills they need to succeed in school and in life,” said Dr. Williams Trueheart, President of RIF. “The reading crisis in America exists in every community in the U.S. With the help of Visa and the Reading Checkup Guide, our aim is to reach children and families across the nation.”

This year Visa “Read Me a Story” is extended from two months to a ten month period, allowing Visa Member financial institutions and merchants to tie-in with the promotion at any time during the school year to coincide with their own reading promotions and marketing efforts. Members and merchants have many opportunities to support the campaign through cardholder statement inserts, point-of-purchase signage, and creating special reading events and activities nationwide. For further program information or a copy of the Reading Checkup Guide consumers can visit the Visa web site at www.visa.com/readme/.

Reading Is Fundamental is the nation’s oldest and largest nonprofit children’s literacy organization, dedicated to inspiring children to read. Serving more than 3.5 million children through local projects conducted at more than 17,000 sites in all 50 states, RIF has the help of more than 240,000 volunteers. RIF supplies children with more than 11 million books annually and has provided families with more than 184 million books since its founding in 1966.

Visa, the leading card brand and the largest consumer payment system worldwide, is a payment solution for consumers, industry and government. It plays a pivotal role in advancing new payment products and technologies to benefit its 21,000 member financial institutions, their cardholders, and the global economy. Visa is the only consumer payment system to facilitate $1 trillion worth of purchases of goods and servicesin a fiscal year. Visa’s more than 600 million cards are accepted at over 15 million worldwide locations, including more than 440,000 ATMs in the Visa/PLUS Global ATM Network. Visa’s Internet address is www.visa.com

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