First 5 California and Scholastic Spark “Reading Power” with Book Giveaway to Schools

First 5 California and Scholastic have joined together to place 30,000

books into the hands of some of the state’s most at-risk children in an

effort to encourage a love of reading from an early age.

The “Reading Power!” program celebrated its launch today with a story

time at Coldwater Canyon Elementary School in North Hollywood,

California. More than 150 kindergarten students received a free copy of

the children’s book “Lola Loves Stories.”

“Our mission is helping prepare young children to enter school ready to

succeed,” said Renee Webster-Hawkins, First 5 California’s interim

executive director. “With California’s literacy rate continuing to rank

below the national average, ‘Reading Power!’ provides essential

resources to teachers and parents, as well as inspiration to young kids,

so we can accomplish this goal together.”

“Reading Power!” program kits are designed to enhance literacy

activities in preschool and kindergarten classrooms. Each kit includes

English and Spanish versions of “Lola Loves Stories,” teaching guides, a

poster, and worksheets that can be incorporated into lesson plans. It

also contains bilingual activities that students can take home to

complete with their families.

The free kits will be distributed to 14,000 teachers across California

who work at schools in primarily Latino neighborhoods that have

household incomes of $50,000 or less. Materials produced for the

“Reading Power!” program are available to all California teachers. To

access these free resources, visit

”We share in the mission along with First 5 California to make sure

every child has the opportunity to experience the joys of owning a

book,” said Ann Amstutz-Hayes, senior vice president, Scholastic

National Partnerships. “We hope this program will inform families about

the importance of reading at home with their children and encouraging

them to take time to read every day.”

Today’s event included representatives from First 5 California,

Scholastic and the Los Angeles Unified School District, along with

teachers and parents from Coldwater Canyon Elementary School. First 5

California’s Hands-On Health Express – a bilingual traveling

health exhibit for young kids and their families – was also on site to

reinforce the message that daily reading activities are an important

part of a child’s healthy development.

“We’re pleased to be here at the launch of the ‘Reading Power!’ program

in our school district and encourage families to learn together each day

through books,” said Monica Carazo, LAUSD Office of the Superintendent.

About First 5 California

At First 5 California, we fund programs that educate parents,

grandparents, caregivers and teachers about the critical role they play

during a child’s first five years. Since our creation in 1998, we’ve

supported millions of families with programs and services designed to

help more California kids grow up healthy and ready to succeed in school

– and in life. For more information, please visit