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About Us

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

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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.   

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The RIFSoCal Experience

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RIFSoCal's First Poetry Shelf

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Raven Howell

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.


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."

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Contact Information

Carol Henault

Executive Director

Oscar Cux

Program Service Manager

Raymond Gonis

Warehouse Manager

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