Monrovia Reads History

In the year 2000, the Monrovia Unified School District began planning for the year 2020. One of the main areas of focus was improving the reading levels of students. To that end it was decided the best way to accomplish this was to make this goal a citywide effort. To do this, a group of Civic and community leaders was brought together address the goal. Get the right people together and the old saying “get on board the train or get out of the way” could not be more descriptive of how Monrovia Reads was formed. The Monrovia Reads’ train left the station in a big hurry! In fact, you might say it was a bullet train that left the station and is still going strong.

Here is a brief history of the many Monrovia Reads accomplishments and a look into what’s coming next:

Spring 2000 Initial meeting dedicated to developing a community-wide literacy program was held
July 2000 Plans were made to incorporate the new organization of Monrovia Reads with the goals of:

1.      Developing a program

2.      Methods to achieve the program goals

3.      Recruiting participants

4.      Create processes

5.      Public relations outreach

November 2000 First all-City Read Across Monrovia was held where volunteers read to every elementary classroom in the Monrovia Unified School District
February 2001 Monrovia Reads, Inc. a 501C (3) corporation was established with the first officers:

President   Joanne Spring Secretary   Betty Sandford

Treasurer   Rob Hammond

March 2001 Second all-City Read Across Monrovia was held where volunteers read to every elementary classroom in the Monrovia Unified School District
August 2001 First book distribution at the Foothill Unity Center Back to School Event. Since that time, books continue to be distributed through: Foothill Unity Center each year at the Back to School event and the Holiday Distribution; the YMCA; Monrovia Police Department Cadet program; teacher grants; Monrovia Public Library Summer Reading Club; Girl Scouts; Boy’s and Girl’s Club of the Foothills and other groups seeking printed materials. Each year, Monrovia Reads distributes approximately 4,000 books in the Community.
September 2001 A Project Pass Program was launched by Duke Freyemuth at Clifton Middle School for failing 6-8th grade students. Maryknoll Sisters and other adults volunteered 2 hours per week throughout the year. From that beginning, the Proactive Tutor Program (PAT) program was expanded to all ages Pre-Kindergarten through Adult at a number of venues.   Today the PAT program exists in Monrovia High School, both Middle Schools and at the Monrovia Public Library. The tutors are high school students in advance placement classes and college students from local colleges. Do we know how many kids have participated over the years as tutors and learners?
September 2001 First fundraiser held to start raising funds for book distributions
January 2002 Began research and wrote a grant to LA Proposition 5 Grant for a literacy Van
Spring 2003 First 5 LA grant was received for $532,000 to finance the purchase of a literacy bus to serve and staff a program for Pre-Kindergarten children and caregivers for a 3-year term. Under the umbrella of Monrovia Unified School District, the bus travelled Monday-Friday mornings to under served areas throughout the City and unincorporated county areas. The 32-foot rainbow striped bus was a mobile library that provided daily, thematic story time with reading, songs and crafts for children infant to pre-school.

At the end of three years, the grant was not renewed and Monrovia Unified School District took over sponsorship of the Literacy Program.

Fall 2006 Still lead by Duke Freyermuth, PAT was launched throughout Monrovia Unified School District and now included these programs:

1.      Project Pass need more description

2.      Avid Tutors need more description

3.      Literacy Library Programs need more description

4.      Boy’s and Girl’s Club of the Foothills need more description

Summer 2007 The Literacy Bus was incorporated into the literacy and recreation programs provided by the City of Monrovia as part of the Monrovia Area Partners Program (MAPP) with Monrovia Reads providing financial support for books and staffing
2008 – 2010 These years were spent raising money to put books in the hands of Monrovia children. Every 3rd through 5th grade student who scored a specific level, or higher in the Accelerated Reader Program was awarded a hardback book. Class sets of books were also provided to teachers through the grant program.
2013 Stephanie Cox built 5 Little Libraries with her Dad for her Girl Scout Gold Award project. From that beginning, Board Member Fire Chief Donovan and Monrovia Reads started the Little Free Library program with the help of the Monrovia Fire Department acting as the Little Library construction crew.
2014 Is  this  the  year  the  scholarship program started?    I think it is more important to list the start of the scholarship program rather than state the number and amount given each year.
2017 Began plans to retire the old Literacy Bus and launch a new Mobile Literacy Van. The new van will begin serving each of the 5 elementary schools one afternoon per week. Trained librarians from the Monrovia Public Library will staff the Literacy Van, with funding for salaries partially provided by Monrovia Reads. Elementary aged children will have access to Story Time, help with homework and he Literacy Van will have the capacity to check-out and return books from the Library.
2018 The Mobile Literacy Van becomes a reality. With the help of our main Sponsor, Foothill Credit Union, the Monrovia Public Library Foundation and the City of Monrovia, the van was unveiled at a ribbon cutting ceremony on xx/xx/xx.