By Emily Glory Peters
Do you remember how you learned to read? Perhaps a conscientious parent or teacher started a favorite story with you at a young age. Most of us consider it a rite of passage and a given skill for kids and adults alike—and yet many in San Gabriel Valley struggle with illiteracy.
Monrovia Reads was founded in 2002 to address both illiteracy and access to books in our community. The data behind the impact of literacy plays a major role in how Monrovia Reads’ services have evolved.
“Research shows that one of the greatest indicators of a child’s future success is the literacy level of his or her parents,” said Monrovia Reads president Janet Wall, citing that literacy is tied to higher incomes, degrees and even healthier home environments.
“Our mission is to create and support an environment where reading is valued,” said Wall, “and resources are provided so all community members know how to (and actually do) read.”
The nonprofit offers multiple programs to equip children and adults as readers and expand access to books. Monrovia Reads Literacy Van partners with the local library for weekly visits at all of Monrovia’s elementary schools and other locations throughout the city, reaching thousands of kids with story time, homework help and a chance to check out a new book.
In addition, tutoring at Monrovia Library is open for K-12 students, and the nonprofit has made scholarships, book distributions, and even teachers’ book grants available so students can begin their own libraries. It ultimately comes down to empowerment.
“Illiteracy limits a child’s future,” said Wall. “They need exposure to at least 20,000 hours of spoken language in order to get ready to read. When they’re exposed to reading from an early age, it lays the foundation for a love of books and reading—and are more likely to carry that tradition on with their own children.”
With a service area including thousands of children, the nonprofit relies on the support of a devoted board, the city, volunteers and donors to keep literacy thriving in Monrovia. As new programs (like the Literacy Van) are introduced, support from the community is paramount.
“We’re grassroots, and depend mainly on the generosity of the board, our friends and corporate partners like Foothill Credit Union,” said Wall. Interested supporters can join as members, she said, become tutors at the library or even attend their upcoming fundraiser on March 7. But for the simplest way to help, the answer is clear.
“Read,” said Wall, “to your children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews and neighbors. The difference it makes in their lives cannot be understated.”
For more information, contact Monrovia Reads at PO Box 1033, Monrovia, CA 91017 | monroviareads.org | firstname.lastname@example.org | (626) 303-6600 and follow along on Facebook and Instagram @monroviareads.