About Us


Reading Is Fundamental of Southern California is having an enormous impact on children, families, and communities.  As we begin our 2017 – 2018 program year, our goal is to serve 71,500 children and distribute more than 222,000 new free books of choice. Believing that the achievement of all children must matter to all of us, we work in economically disadvantaged schools, Head Start sites and social service programs all over Los Angeles and Orange Counties.

In 1966, former teacher Margaret McNamara brought a bag of used books to four boys in Washington, D.C. whom she tutored in reading. When she told the children they could each pick out a book to keep, their astonishment and delight led her to discover that these children, and many of their classmates, had never owned a single book. By that summer, Mrs. McNamara had gathered a group of school volunteers, and on November 3, 1966, Reading Is Fundamental became a reality. This original book distribution and reading program is now the largest children’s literacy organization in the nation.

Reading Is Fundamental of Southern California started in 1972 and has grown to become the largest multi-site program. As an independent 501c3 organization with its own Board of Directors, Articles of Incorporation and By-Laws, we have been cited as a model for running a successful multi-site program by RIF and both our volunteers and programs have received national recognition for their excellence. In June 2007, we received Program Excellence Honors from national RIF in a ceremony in Washington, D.C. Only 25 of RIF’s more than 4,100 chapters received this honor.

Thank you to all who have helped make this dream come true!