Program - Children's Literacy Nonprofit
“Reading is more than a pastime. In today’s world, it’s a survival skill. A child who can read is a child who can learn, and a child who can learn is a child who can succeed.”
-Former U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings
For 50 years, Reading Is Fundamental of Southern California has taken special pride inspiring the most resource-deprived children in Los Angeles and Orange County to read for FUN! We believe that developing a passion for reading, reading for fun, is the greatest gift we can give children on their road to literacy. By bringing communities together in this mission, we have witnessed thousands of life-changing moments and received innumerable testimonials from grateful children, parents, and school teachers.
RIFSoCal is exclusively focused
on improving literacy in disadvantaged
communities through our
Motivational Reading Program. At the
core of the program is the
“book event,” special celebratory
activities that culminate in each
child selecting a book to take home
as his/her own. Letting a child choose
a new book to keep as their own is
one of the most powerful, yet simple
tools we have to support our children’s development. Most people don’t know that 60% of kindergarteners in low-income families do not have a single age-appropriate book in their home.
The program has been a success for over 50 years because of its following unique elements:
• Community Involvement. Three book
events each year, at each of 270+ sites
(which include high-poverty elementary
schools, preschools, Head Starts, and
community-based organizations in
Greater Los Angeles and Orange
County) are planned, organized and
conducted by volunteers. Volunteers at
each site develop the event, selecting,
packaging, and delivering the books to
the sites, and reading to and motivating
the children to read. Volunteers (over 6,000 each year) include parents and other relatives, teachers, librarians, school administrators, civic groups, and others,who all work together to effectively build a community that supports literacy.
• Reading for fun. The children decide
for themselves what book they would
like from a large selection of brand-new,
high quality, age appropriate titles. We
ask that the books not be used for
school assignments or given as
rewards. We want each child to choose
a book that he or she will enjoy for its
own sake, a book that will compel them
to read for fun and pleasure, thereby
creating a habit of reading. It is well
established among literacy researchers that when students read books of their own choosing they are likely to be more motivated, independent readers.
• Pride of ownership. RIF books are
brand new and provided to the children
at no cost. For many of the children we
serve, they are the only new books they
own. Children and their families read
and re-read the books, and often create
a special place for a home library to
display the books.
Research affirms the impact of
RIFSoCal’s program model. Schools
that emphasize literacy and engage
strong parental support see higher
reading scores. Scholastic, a leading provider of children’s literacy resources, confirms the importance of books in the home and the power of choice in motivating children to read, finding that 90% of children are more likely to finish a book they have chosen themselves, and that having a large book collection at home has a greater impact on kids’ reading frequency than does household income.
The RIFSoCal Experience
RIFSoCal's First Poetry Shelf
Children’s Author & Poet
Raven Howell writes stories and poetry for children. Having published several award-winning picture books, she enjoys sharing her love of literature by visiting classrooms and libraries. She presents poetry and writing workshops for children in the Northeast, from Maine to the Carolinas. Raven is Creative & Publishing Advisor for RedClover Reader, Poetry Director for Monster Magnificent, and writes The Book Bug column for Story Monsters Ink magazine. Her poems are found in children’s magazines such as Ladybug, Spider, Highlights for Children, Humpty Dumpty, and Hello Magazine.
Raven’s amazing donation of her own award-winning poetry and storybooks, with the help of books collected by the well known poet David Harrison, launched RIFSoCal’s first POETRY SHELF.
RIFSoCal Character Costumes
RIFSoCal is fortunate to be able to offer seven different character costumes for free rental available to all schools that are able to pick them up and drop them off within the agreed upon timeframe.
The Cat in the Hat, The Big Red Dog, Minnie, Pooh, Pete the Cat, Curious George and Sponge Bob are great additions to any Motivational Reading Event!
If you are interested in reserving one of the characters, please call the warehouse at 323-890-0876 to discuss their availability and schedule a pick-up and dropoff time.
The Glory of Books
These words on the facade of the Brooklyn Public Library at Grand Army Plaza embody the relationship between books and the human soul.
“HERE ARE ENSHRINED THE LONGING OF GREAT HEARTS AND NOBLE THINGS THAT TOWER ABOVE THE TIDE, THE MAGIC WORD THAT WINGED WONDER STARTS, THE GARNERED WISDOM THAT HAS NEVER DIED.”
To promote literacy and motivate children to read by providing new books to create home libraries for underserved children in Southern California.
"I want to read with my family so they
could be better readers like me."