About Us


“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 almost 45 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.  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.

Reading Is Fundamental of Southern California works with more than 252 project sites, tirelessly motivating thousands of children (over 65,000 in program year 2015-2016) across Los Angeles and Orange Counties to discover the joy of reading.  With the help of over 8200 volunteers including almost 6000 parents, our programs celebrate books and give families the resources to make reading a part of their lives.  We are unique in providing children the opportunity to choose and take home free, new books to create their own home libraries - giving them a sense of ownership and pride.  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. 

Reading Is Fundamental of Southern California works with parents to foster literacy in the home.  We want families to know that sharing stories and reading aloud to children is the first and single most important thing they can do to help children learn to read.  And best of all, families grow closer by taking time to read to their children. 

Reading Is Fundamental of Southern California makes a difference in children’s lives every day through enriching activities that spark children’s interest in reading; putting books in the hands, homes, and hearts of the children who need them most; helping educate parents about the importance of literacy in their homes; motivating children and volunteers to make reading a central part of their lives, and helping whole communities celebrate the joy of reading. 

Based on the large body of research showing the importance of early reading experiences, Reading Is Fundamental of Southern California targets children in pre-K through 3rd grade at schools with a high proportion of students from low-income families (94% of the children we serve are eligible for Free/Reduced Lunch Program).  We also emphasize reaching children with special needs, and through non-traditional venues such as Ronald McDonald House, dental and medical clinics, and family courts. 

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.”