Reading Is Fundamental of Southern California is the
country’s largest RIF program. Our work to close the
opportunity gap one book at a time empowers young
minds to embrace the world of reading and develop a
love of learning.
As of our 50th anniversary in 2022, we had
served 1.7 million children and provided them
with more than 5.3 million books.
Based on the large body of research that shows the importance of early reading experiences, our Motivational Reading Program targets children in Prek – 8th grade at schools with a high proportion of students from low-income families. We also place an emphasis on reaching children with special needs through non-school settings such as Los Angeles Superior Courts (Probate and Family), John Tracy Center, Kid's Community Dental Clinic, Oak Tree Community Day School, East Vally Community Health Centers, and USC’s Violence Intervention Program.
RIFSoCal’s strategic plan is focused on continuous expansion. Between 2013 and 2018 we grew by an astonishing 39%! In the 2018-2019 program year, our growth was highlighted by our continuing expansion to reach children in grades 4-8; prior to 2018 we were only serving children in PreK – 3rd grade. Our next step was to open our programs in Los Angeles and Orange County elementary schools to their entire school population (grades Pre-K - 6).
In 2019-2020, we began our work to increase equity and ensure that more children in low-income families succeed in school. We addressed the School Readiness gap that separates disadvantaged children from their more affluent peers by expanding our outreach to high-poverty pre-schools and Early Learning Centers to increase the number of children ages 0-5 in our Motivational Reading Program. Of the close to 50,000 children we will serve in our 2022-2023 program year, approximately 30% are 0-5. We are also currently serving ALL Head Start sites in Orange County.
Since 2014 we have served almost every PreK - 8th-grade student in the city of El Monte. Standardized test scores for El Monte Students in grades 3-8th illustrate that our Motivational Radign Program clearly contributes to Literacy improvement; the percentage who met or excited the standards in English Language Arts and Literacy increased from 30% in 2015 to 40% in 2019.
The results of our Spring 2022 survey of school principals and site coordinators clearly demonstrate the impact of the Motivational Reading Program:
Evaluation of the Motivational Reading
Program is conducted through required
reports on each event; feedback from
students, teachers, and parents; and formal
surveys of site coordinators and school
principals. Results of our Spring 2022
survey of site coordinators and school
principals clearly demonstrate the value
of the program:
100% believe it has increased students'
love of reading;
100% believe it is an important literacy tool
for the school;
100% believe it has led to an increase in students' independent reading;
100% believe it has increased parent involvement in their child's literacy development; 91% believe it has increased parent and community involvement in the school.
Sample comments include:
The program has inspired a life-long love of reading in our students.
Children have access to more books and are more aware of different genres. They get to decide on their preference and that carries over to their selections on other occasions.
Children share their books and get other people excited about reading.
The students are reading more [because of the program].
The best part of the program is parent and child engagement in literacy activities at home.
During the pandemic, children benefited from the books more than ever. They were a priority and a necessity.
We are humbled to share an excerpt of two beautifully written testimonials; the first by a current RIFSoCal board member, and the second by a RIF alumna:
“Born and raised in Los Angeles, I grew up as a ‘RIF Kid.’ Growing up, there was not any extra money to go shopping for books, so from the first time my little sister Veronica and I visited the RIF Bookmobile, it ignited a life-long passion for reading and learning. We both credit RIF for beginning and impacting our journey to be the first generation of our family to become college graduates! I am honored to be a RIFSoCal Board member and have an opportunity to give back and help grow RIF for the next generation of kids.”
-- Andrew Meneses, RIFSoCal Board Member
Reading is synonymous with my personality. Books are my passion, my profession, my identity. I firmly believe that without individuals and programs like RIF, my passion for books, and as a result, my life path, could have taken a different turn.
That day where I chose my book and wrote my name inside was one step in many that have led me to be the reader, free thinker, and librarian I am today. I am so happy to be a “RIF Kid” and grateful that the program is still making a difference in children’s lives today. I’ll end with a quote from Children’s Author and literacy advocate Frank Serafini, “There is no such thing as a child who hates to read; there are only children who have not found the right book.”
Thank you, RIF, for finding me and other children the right books, it changed my life.
-- Carly Lamphere, Former RIFSoCal Board Member