The late Robert Condon, a literacy advocate and businessman, founded Rolling Readers USA in 1991. When reading aloud to his young children, Mr. Condon became aware of significant improvement in their vocabulary and their interest in books. Eager to see if his discovery would hold true for other children, Mr. Condon began reading to kids at a local homeless shelter. Within a short time, the reading sessions proved to have the same positive effects on the children’s interest in books as well as a marked increase on their early literacy development.
Mr. Condon recruited a handful of volunteers who began “rolling” into low-income schools and community sites to read to children each week.
In 1992, Rolling Readers USA was incorporated as a 501c(3) nonprofit organization, and distributed 6,000 books to San Diego school children during Rolling Readers’ first Book Giveaway event.
In 1993, Rolling Readers opened an office in Los Angeles as part of Rebuild LA, a community-wide effort to restore health and vitality to Los Angeles in the aftermath of the 1992 civil unrest. Beginning in 1997, chapters started forming across the country. Now chapters outside of California have become independent organizations and continue to provide literary services in their communities, while Rolling Readers has focused its attention on children in San Diego County.
Rolling Readers is now acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Education as a "model organization."