This isn't a political blog, but this is worth noting regardless of political affiliations, so I'm making a brief exception.
Federal funding (about $26 million) for the Reading is Fundamental (RIF) program has been cut out of the 2009 budget.
Reading is Fundamental is a non-profit organization, founded in 1966, that distributes free books and literacy materials to children in need and promotes reading for both children and families, organizes book festivals and more.
According to their site: "Founded in 1966, RIF is the oldest and largest children's and family nonprofit literacy organization in the United States. RIF’s highest priority is reaching underserved children from birth to age 8. Through community volunteers in every state and U.S. territory, RIF provides 4.5 million children with 16 million new, free books and literacy resources each year."
There is no benefit at any level to having an illiterate population, and the entire country only benefits by our children educated and reading. Information on getting involved is here.