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Gascon Elementary School Launches New Reading Is Fundamental Program

East Los Angeles — Through a grant from Reading Is Fundamental, Inc. (RIF), Joseph A. Gascon Elementary School has launched a new Family of Readers program that will provide free books and literacy resources and materials to more than 200 first grade students. 

Gascon Elementary's Family of Readers program targets young children and literacy in the home by improving family reading habits and enhancing the time those families spend sharing books with their young children. It also promotes parents' effectiveness as participants in their children's education and fosters supportive relationships among parents who face similar challenges. 

"When family members become actively involved in the educational process, the visible improvements in student academic performance cannot be denied," stated Edwin Chau, president of the Montebello Unified School District Board of Education. "We are very grateful to Reading Is Fundamental for providing grant funds to support this important program at Gascon Elementary. RIF's support will help our District increase the resources available to the families that the school serves."

The program consists of four distinct components: book distributions, parent workshops, a school-wide reading challenge, and a Lending Library. The first book distribution was held on March 2, in conjunction with the Read Across America celebration of Dr. Seuss's Birthday.  The second distribution was held this Friday, April 20. The final distribution is scheduled for May 18.

There is a series of seven parent workshops, with parents expected to attend four during one academic year. For the school-wide reading challenge, each class at Joseph A. Gascon Elementary will jointly participate in a reading challenge for a period of two weeks.  The Lending Library is available to school parents and students who are able to check out any books they would like to read as a family. Parents actively volunteer their time to support each of the Family of Readers program components, such as helping with the book distribution and placing Reading is Fundamental labels on each book so that students can write their name on their book.

"Our District functions from a community perspective—every one of us plays an important role in providing our students with the education they need to become successful as adults," commented Montebello Unified Superintendent of Schools Edward Velasquez. "Our students have unlimited potential, and the contributions of our parent volunteers are an integral part of our continued commitment to raising student performance."

RIF is the nation's oldest and largest nonprofit children's and family literacy organization. Founded more than forty years ago, RIF literacy programs embrace three elements to foster a child's love of reading: fun reading activities, family and community involvement, and a child's excitement at choosing free books that are theirs to keep. RIF currently serves children in every state and territory in the U.S., at more than 20,000 sites.

"RIF programs help get books to children who need them most," said Carol H. Rasco, RIF president and CEO. "Research has shown that children who have access to books and who read for fun perform better on reading tests. RIF looks forward to working with Gascon Elementary School to help these children in East Los Angeles develop a lifelong love of reading."

With the support of Congress, the U.S. Department of Education and private funders, last year RIF distributed more than 16 million books to nearly 4.5 million children across the country. Almost 89 percent of the federal funds were used to purchase books.  In addition, RIF volunteers leveraged the federal dollars to raise an additional $9.2 million to support book ownership.  In the state of California alone, RIF and its volunteers distribute nearly two million new books annually to more than 568,000 children in schools and other facilities. Since our founding, RIF has distributed more than 300 million new, free books to more than 25 million children ages birth to age 18.

RIF programs are required to provide a 25 percent match of their book budget. If you are interested in either donating funds or volunteering with the Gascon Elementary School’s RIF program, contact Monica Rojas at (323) 721-2025.


Reading Is Fundamental, Inc. (RIF), founded in 1966, motivates children to read by working with them, their parents, and community members to make reading a fun and beneficial part of everyday life. RIF’s highest priority is reaching underserved children from birth to age 8. Through community volunteers in every state and U.S. territory, RIF provides 4.6 million children with 15 million new, free books and literacy resources each year. For more information and to access reading resources, visit RIF’s website at www.rif.org.

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The Montebello Unified School District includes a total enrollment of approximately 35,000 K-12 students and 30,000 adult learners in 18 elementary schools, six intermediate schools, four high schools and four adult schools.  For more information on our District, visit our website at http://www.montebello.k12.ca.us/

For more information, contact:
Layla Wright-Contreras,
Media Relations Manager

Gascon Elementary School Launches New Reading Is Fundamental Program