The Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation (LADF) partners with the Los Angeles Dodgers (LAD) on LA Reads, an initiative that inspires thousands of children to read year-round. An estimated 60% of kids in Los Angeles do not meet reading performance standards. The goal is to change that by using the Dodgers' historic brand to motivate young people to read and help them build a life-long love of reading.
In 2016, the LA Reads literacy program was launched to help build foundational literacy skills and foster a lifelong love of reading among Los Angeles youth from March through August, as a way to keep them engaged in reading activities and create opportunities for them to use their reading skills when not in school. Knowing that reading 15-30 minutes per day can substantially improve reading proficiency, LA Reads encourages school-aged children to read daily through the "Dodgers Reading Champions" challenge during the Dodger season. Using the By Kids For Kids (BKFK) online platform, students in grades 1-8 can create an account and a unique username and password to track their daily reading on a reading log. Students enter the name of their book, number of minutes read, and are prompted to answer a reading comprehension question to further activate learning. Students participating in the "Dodgers Reading Champions" challenge who read at least 30 minutes per day per their reading logs are automatically entered for monthly prizes and incentives, including game tickets and in-stadium recognition at Dodger home games!
Due to its success, "Dodgers Reading Champions" has expanded to include Kern, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Ventura Counties in order to increase our reach and promote reading opportunities to more school-aged children. In 2019, young readers read a total of 1.5 million minutes!
From large activations, like Dr. Seuss Read Across America Day and Community Read-Aloud Days, to local library events, LAD and LADF aim to foster love for reading far and wide. Alongside the Library Foundation of Los Angeles and Los Angeles city and county libraries, children are invited to local reading series events where they can enjoy a read-aloud from Dodger coaches, players, spouses, and alumni. Children in attendance have additional opportunities to learn about their local library and sign-up for a library card to increase access to diverse reading materials.
In addition, through various literacy-focused activities and giving initiatives, LAD and LADF aim to meet goals by awarding grants to hardworking literacy-based nonprofits, conducting reading events at local libraries, building literacy corners and small libraries in underserved communities, encouraging children to read daily, distributing books and bilingual reading subscriptions, and establishing strategic partnerships with organizations to make reading fun and accessible to youth across Los Angeles.
In September 2019, alongside newest member of the Dodger ownership, Billie Jean King, and the Billie Jean King Leadership Initiative, LADF distributed a co-branded "I am Billie Jean King" book, part of the Ordinary People Change the World book series, to all 5th graders in Long Beach Unified School District - a total of 6,000 free books for youth!
Dodgers Reading Champions is open for registration and will run through August. This year the goal is for youth from first to eighth grade to read 1.75 million minutes.
LA Reads Goals
- Improve overall reading frequency for school-aged children.
- Increase motivation to read for students who do or do not currently read.
- Boost likelihood to read on a regular basis.
- Provide access to books to underserved children.