We are the country’s largest RIF program, currently partnering with 252 project sites – which include elementary schools, preschools, Head Start sites, and community based organizations – to bring much-needed literacy resources to disadvantaged children. Our overall organizational goals are to influence the reading behavior of children living in poverty and strengthen the literacy support of their schools and communities.
The Motivational Reading Program puts new, high-quality books of choice into the hands of children who would otherwise not have access to them – books that they will be excited to read for fun and pleasure and take home as their own. The core of the Motivational Reading Program is the “book event” – special celebratory activities that culminate in each child selecting a book to take home as his/her own.
RIFSoCal serves children in high poverty schools and those with special needs in Los Angeles and Orange Counties. Of the 65,000+ children we will serve this year, 91% are in pre-K through 3rd grade; 94% are from low-income households as determined by their eligibility for the National School Lunch Program; and 9% have special needs.
Our strategic plan is focused on continued expansion. In 2014-2015 we expanded by 10%, which included moving into Orange County for the first time where we served 4,842 children as well as into new, high-need communities in Los Angeles County. In 2015-2016 we are on track to grow by an additional 18%.
The implementation of the Motivational Reading Program is a collaboration with our 250+ project sites in the community and corps of over 8,000 volunteers (including 5,000+ parent volunteers). Individual groups of volunteers at the project sites conduct the motivational reading events. We provide the raw materials and guidance, and they decide for themselves how they will utilize these resources drawing from the strengths in their local community. We support their efforts and learn effective strategies that we, in turn, disseminate as best practices to all sites.
The results of a May 2015 survey of school principals and site coordinators clearly demonstrate the impact of the program, including:
98% believe the program has directly increased students' love of reading;
98% believe the program has led to an increase in students' independent reading;
85% believe the program is a very important literacy tool for the school; 83% believe the program has increased parent involvement in their child's literacy development;
and 81% believe the program has increased parent and community involvement in the school.
Sample comments include:
o "The RIF program has awakened a love of reading for our students. They are so excited when they receive their RIF books."
o "The best thing to come out of the program is the increase in independent reading and comprehension scores in reading assessments school-wide."
o "We celebrate a love of reading as a whole school community. It is now a special and meaningful tradition for our school."
o “The best thing about the program is the children’s excitement and parents showing just a much excitement and willingness to work with the child on their literacy skills.”
o "Ask the teachers. Ask the children. I don't believe anyone could imagine not having RIF."