What is RIF?
Reading Is Fundamental, Honolulu, Inc. (RIF-Honolulu) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that serves children in areas on Oahu.
• Encourages a love of reading through book ownership.
• Provides 16,000 books a year to K-3 students in under-resourced communities on Oahu.
• Is staffed entirely by volunteers.
100% of all contributions to RIF-Honolulu are used exclusively for our Oahu children’s reading program.
Kahalu’u Elementary’s Monkey Pod Tables and Benches
Many years ago, Uncle Eldean Kukahiko lived across the street from Kahalu’u Elementary School. He attended the school as a boy, and through the years his family stayed close to the school, and his grandchildren also attended.
Uncle Eldean was a pastor and kupuna at the school, befriending both students and teachers, as well as teaching ukulele. Several years ago a large monkey pod tree, planted in the 1960s on the campus, blew over during a storm. Uncle Eldean had an idea.
He got permission from the city to harvest the tree and use the wood. The school’s parent community helped him find a wood worker who sawed and milled the wood into planks. Uncle Eldean decided to teach his best friend, Peter Fields, how to turn the planks into tables and benches.
This was a lucky decision, because half-way through the project, Uncle Eldean passed away. The tables, benches, and poi boards were completed by Peter Fields at the Parks and Recreation area in Kahalu’u.
Now, two lovely long tables and four benches grace the Kahalu’u Elementary School Library with their beautiful shapes and rich grain.
The students sit at them every day, and the RIF volunteers especially like coming to Kahalu’u Elementary to sit at the tables, and to look over books and enjoy the delicious snacks provided by Ms. Kobashigawa and Mr. Nakaoka. Students in every grade pound poi on the beautiful monkey pod poi boards twice each year, led by Uncle Eldean’s wife, Aunty Darlene.
Mahalos from students and schools
- May 22, 2023
We successfully wrapped up our visitations for the school year, and have received many mahalo notes from the students.
Schools this year have told us:
“The volunteers .. have not only inspired a passion for reading, but also helped to cultivate important skills such as critical thinking, creativity, and empathy. It is so important to encourage a love of reading in children, and the volunteers do an outstanding job of engaging our students and making the reading experience both fun and educational. Their dedication and commitment to promoting literacy are truly admirable, and we are so grateful for everything they do.”
“[The students] get so excited when they know that our valuable and hardworking RIF volunteers will be on campus because they know that after the book talks are done, they’ll each get to choose their own book to keep. It’s funny because that’s when they all start to sit up straight, trying their hardest to behave so they’ll get first pick of all these wonderful books! The RIF program not only sparks our students’ interest in reading, but it also helps them to become better readers.”
RIF volunteers thoroughly enjoyed their times with students, after having to stay away for so long due to the pandemic. See you next school year!
Ma’ili Elementary Enjoys RIF’s Visit
- Apr 07, 2023
Students and student helpers at Ma’ili Elementary were active participants in their RIF visitation, with the upper-grade helpers reading to the younger ones. Our RIF volunteers (who looked terrific in their ‘aloha’ wear) included a new recruit. We’re so grateful for all our volunteers, and are delighted when new ones choose to join us!
Read Across America
- Mar 01, 2023
Tomorrow (March 2nd) is Read Across America Day! Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) hopes to unite readers … all across America … with a day dedicated to reading.
The day was established by the National Education Association (NEA) in 1998 to help get kids excited about reading. The day occurs each year on the birthday of beloved children’s book author Dr. Seuss, so a perfect way to celebrate is to don a Seussian hat and read one his famous tales, like One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish. On National Read Across America Day, students, teachers, parents, and community members around the nation come together to read books and celebrate the joy of reading — join us!
Leihoku Welcomes RIF
- Feb 20, 2023
Leihoku Elementary went above and beyond to welcome RIF volunteers to their school the other week! In addition to the incredible screen and signs, classes presented them with lei, thank you notes, and cookies.
The 5th grade student volunteers above meet weekly to plan and work on things, such as RIF visitations. Mahalo to all!