The Rams visited 156th Street Elementary School with mascot Rampage and Rams Cheerleaders to read the team's children's book, Ride with Rampage. More than 170 first through third grade students followed along during the reading session and got to take a copy of the book and a Rams bookmark home with them.
156th Street Elementary principal, Melissa Heckman said, "It's an amazing opportunity because at our school reading is a big push for us to focus [on], our kids read at recess, they're really strong readers. It supports that, and it lets them know that reading is important out in the community as well."
David Weingarten, Rams manager of community affairs and engagement, said, "The goal of the program was to build off the excitement of the beginning of the NFL season and encourage elementary school students to discover the excitement and adventure that reading provides."
Ride with Rampage is a key component of the Rams Readers program, which encourages students to be enthusiastic about reading while helping improve literacy rates among students throughout Los Angeles. The book centers around Rampage driving a Rams-branded double decker bus around Southern California, picking up young Rams fans and Rams Cheerleaders at each stop along a scenic route to SoFi Stadium.
Phoebe and Shane, third graders at 156th Street Elementary, said their favorite part of the day was reading the book with their classmates. Both students expressed that having the Rams at their school made them feel excited.
Heckman said the program provided "a chance for [the students] to feel seen and important." She went on to explain how the program encouraged students "not only to embrace that love of reading, but to know that they're important to the community around them, and that their future and the things that they're doing are important to others."
"Our hope is that the program instills a love for reading and learning. Our guest readers encourage students to read from a young age and provide them with positive role models to look up to," explained Weingarten. Heckman agreed as she reiterated that she was impressed with "[the Rams] knowledge of working with children and really supporting the skills that are important to them."
Heckman was appreciative of the program coming to her school. "It makes my job as a principal easier because it helps me reach the kids and let them know that reading is so important."
The Rams kicked off the Rams Readers literacy program and released Ride with Rampage on March 2, 2022, in celebration of last year's Read Across America Day. Since launching the program in 2022, the Rams have visited more than 38 schools and distributed over 7,000 copies of Ride with Rampage to first through third grade students in schools across Southern California. For more information about the Rams' community outreach efforts, visit www.therams.com/community.