Why does RJF support reading?

The Rashad Jennings Foundation is recommitting our youth to reading. Studies show that the link between academic failure and delinquency, violence and crime is welded to reading failure.

  • One in four children in America grow up without learning to read   
  • 2/3 of students who cannot read proficiently by the fourth grade will end up in jail or on welfare
  • 6 out of 10 households do not purchase a single book in a year
  • To determine how many prison beds will be needed in the future, some states actually base their projection on how well current elementary students are preparing on their reading tests 
  • 50 percent of Americans read so poorly they are unable to perform simple tasks such as reading a cereal box or prescription drug labels
  • 44 million adults are now unable to read a simple story to their children. 

While the statistics are eye-opening and alarming, the numbers resonate deeply with Rashad. At 15-years-old, his Teachers told him he had a reading deficiency. Immediately, Rashad felt distant from his peers, and had an overwhelming feeling that he “just wasn’t good enough” because he struggled with reading and the academic challenges reading presented while learning other subjects. With help from his Teachers and his own hard work and dedication, Rashad was able to overcome his challenge. The RJF Reading Challenge exists to ignite students with a passion for reading and literacy through offering incentives for their efforts.

How does it work?

The Reading Challenge program has one major goal: to get students excited about reading. While many schools have reading initiatives, The Reading Challenge incentives set our program apart. During the month of the challenge, students will read as many books as they can. The books that are read must be on the student’s Lexile Level or approved by the student’s teacher. After the student reads the book, they will take a computer-based or Teacher-created assessment of the content. When the student passes the reading comprehension assessment, they are entered into a drawing to win exciting prizes: NFL game tickets, signed merchandise and memorabilia, from Professional Athletes, Locker Room tours, a SKYPE session with Rashad and other athletes, gift cards, pizza parties and more.

How many schools have participated in The Challenge and what have the results been so far?

Since 2010, The Reading Challenge has been in 38 schools in Florida and New Jersey combined. Over 176 thousand books have been read in the seven-year time span and those numbers continue to grow in 2017. RJF is excited to partner with many more elementary schools for the 2017 school year.

In addition to The Reading Challenge, Rashad recently partnered up with students in Staten Island, New York to build a Little Free Library so the youth can have a place to stop and grab books to read on the way home from school. Check it out:

Rashad Jennings Unveils “Little Free Library” in Staten Island

In December 2017, Rashad launched The Reading Challenge in 8 Bronx, New York schools!

Learn more: Giants player Rashad Jennings Kicks Off Reading Program in the Bronx

How can I sign a school up to participate?

Schools and organizations that are interested in joining The Reading Challenge for the 2016-2017 or 2017-2018  school year should email: Once the inquiry is received, we will schedule a conference call with your selected lead team who will help to oversee and administer The Reading Challenge at your school. It is recommended that your school’s lead team consists of an “on board” Administrator, Teacher and Media Specialist who work with The Rashad Jennings Foundation to make your student’s experience with The Reading Challenge is the best possible! We look forward to hearing from you.