Los Angeles Rams safety John Johnson III, Rams Cheerleaders and mascot Rampage visited Beckford Charter for Enriched Studies to read the team's children's book Ride with Rampage to more than 280 students as part of the Rams Readers literacy program. Each student took home their own copy of the book and a Rams bookmark.
"The kids need something to look up to. [I'm] trying to be a good role model, make them happy, put smiles on their faces and encourage them to continue to do the right thing," said Johnson.
Johnson was drafted by the Rams in 2017 in the third round out of Boston College. In his first four seasons with the Rams, Johnson started in all 54 games he appeared in and registered eight interceptions with 146 yards and 350 combined tackles. He returned to the Rams in 2023 for his seventh NFL season, after two seasons with the Cleveland Browns.
Beckford principal Shelly Bower saw how engaged the students were throughout the reading session. "When I was watching the children, they were following along in the book, and they were so happy."
Several students were dressed head to toe in Rams gear and Brower shared the lasting impact that she sees the event having. "I think it's really important because they see the players on the TV, but they don't realize they're real people." She explained that the Rams presence at her school showed that the organization sees the students as important and represents the organization's appreciation for every fan and every child in the community.
Johnson was eager to see young students who had so much pride not only for the Rams but also for learning. "I was surprised they follow the Rams. They know the Rams [even though] they're so young. They know who Rampage is and they're excited about the book."
Beckford students participated in chants and answered questions following the reading of the book. "You could feel the electricity in the air, the children were excited. With an emphasis on reading, it really meant a lot and I felt like the children got a lot out of it," added Brower.
Ride with Rampage is a key component of the Rams Readers program, which encourages students to explore the excitement that reading can provide while helping improve literacy rates among students throughout Los Angeles. The book centers around mascot Rampage, driving a Rams-branded double decker bus around Southern California, picking up young Rams fans and Rams Cheerleaders at each stop along the scenic route to the team's home at SoFi Stadium.
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. Read Across America Day is a nationwide reading celebration that takes place annually in March in honor of Dr. Seuss's birthday. Since launching the program in 2022, the Rams have visited more than 48 schools and distributed over 9,300 copies of Ride with Rampage to first through third grade students in schools across Southern California. Copies of Ride with Rampage can be purchased at www.ramsfanshop.com, Amazon, and in select Barnes & Noble locations across Los Angeles. All proceeds from retail purchases will benefit the Los Angeles Rams Foundation.
For more information about the Rams' community outreach efforts, visit www.therams.com/community.