updated 2/23/2011 1:46:56 PM ET 2011-02-23T18:46:56

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 23, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- City National Bank today announced that it has awarded 91 Reading is The way up® grants totaling more than $77,000 to support literacy-based projects at elementary, middle and high schools in California, Nevada and New York.

(See attached list of California grant recipients or visit www.readingisthewayup.org .)

Reading is The way up® is the award-winning literacy initiative through which City National has donated more than 80,000 books to elementary school libraries in California, New York and Nevada, and awarded 541 teacher grants to enhance literacy totaling close to $500,000 since the program's inception in 2002.

The grants ranging from $500 to $1,500 will help augment or expand literacy projects that were judged to be creative and engaging, and that would have a tangible effect on student achievement. The winning programs are expected to directly improve the literacy to more than 10,000 students in 86 schools throughout California, Nevada and New York.

The educators receiving literacy grants were selected from among the many full-time teachers, librarians, administrators and school media specialists who submitted an online application. Applications were distributed to every school district in California's 11 counties where City National maintains offices, which included Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose, San Diego, Orange County, San Bernardino, Simi Valley, and more.

"We are excited to award much needed funds to a number of very deserving educators throughout California this year as part of our annual literacy grant program," said Carolyn Rodriguez, vice president and manager of Reading is The way up for City National. "These literacy grants are an investment in our future and part of our daily commitment to the communities we serve."

Projects funded included:

  • A "Reading Buddies Learn that Character Counts" program that pairs older students with younger students to assist with pronunciation and vocabulary when reading. While this program helps younger students improve their reading skills, older students develop greater self-esteem and self-confidence. The program also helped purchase books and DVDs related to the Six Pillars of Character.
  • A literacy program inspired by the book "Percy Jackson and the Openians" and students' interest in Greek Mythology. This program encourages students to go a step further to explore the mythologies of the world. Each student becomes a detective and uses to booklets and puzzle pieces to undercover various mythologies. A dedicated website serves as a conduit for information and showcases student's written mythologies.
  • "Photographs are Worth a Thousand Words" literacy project helps students with moderate to severe disabilities learn to read through sight words instead of using phonics. Teachers use sight words that are part of the student's present environment. Teachers also create using repetitive written words, pictures and video specialized material for each child, teaching them to read a core curriculum.
  • The implementation of a "Latino Family Literacy Project" that helps Hispanic families become more involved in the school community. Every week Latino families borrow bilingual books to read at home and discuss their reading experiences with other families while creating a photo album to maintain their family's culture and traditions.

About Reading is The way up®

Originally established to help improve the education of California's future leaders, City National in April 2002 launched the multi-faceted Reading is The way up initiative to restock the state's school library system.

To date, the bank has:

  • Contributed over $2 million to support education, including an initial contribution of $100,000 to buy about 5,000 books for public school libraries through the California Governor's Book Fund and the California State Library Foundation.
  • Donated more than 80,000 books to Nevada, California and New York school libraries.
  • Established a library "reading corner" at the Jerome D. Mack Middle School in Las Vegas, and donated more than 500 brand new books, 300 comic books, furniture and $1,000 for additional educational supplies.
  • Received the 2005 President's Volunteer Service Award, the 2005 Corporate Philanthropy Award from the Los Angeles Public Library, the 2006 Corporate Award from the Getty House Foundation, and honored as the 2007 Corporate Visionary Partner by The Wonder of Reading, and the Hugh O'Brien Youth Leadership Corporate Citizen Award.

The bank also has created the Reading is The way up Fund, a 501(c)(3) administered by the California Community Foundation, as a funding resource to purchase books for school libraries in California, Nevada and New York.  For more information, visit www.readingisthewayup.org .

About City National

City National Bank is the wholly owned subsidiary of City National Corporation (NYSE:CYN). It is backed by $21.4 billion in total assets, and provides banking, investment and trust services through 76 offices, including 16 full-service regional centers, in Southern California, the San Francisco Bay Area, Nevada and New York City. The company and its investment affiliates manage or administer $58.5 billion in client investment assets, including nearly $37 billion under direct management.

For more information about City National, visit the company's Website at cnb.com.

The City National Bank logo is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=3143

City National Bank
Reading is The way up
2011 California Literacy Grant Recipients


  • Eric Slay, Betsy Ross Elementary, "Around the World in a Book"


  • Michelle Flowers, Park Middle School, "Soaring Readers Abound With SRA's Reading Success"


  • Debbie Hill, Gladstone Street Elementary School, "Take Us On a Book Adventure"


  • Joal Arvanigian, Oxford Elementary School, "Family Literacy Night"

Canoga Park

  • Beth Holloway, Canoga Park Sr. High School, "Building Developmental Assets Through Literacy"
  • Linda Shore, Winnetka Avenue Elementary School, "Book Grant"


  • Gabie Norton, Kelly Elementary School, "Technology Enhanced Language Arts"


  • Cathleen Blatt, Ygnacio Valley Christian School, "Spelling Intervention Program"


  • Maggie GrosJean, Glen Oak Elementary School, "Reading Rally"


  • Susana Verdin, Lanai Road Elementary School, "Reading Buddies Learn That Character Counts"


  • Andrea McClure, Shadow Hills Elementary School, "Book Grant"

Fountain Valley

  • Andrea Atkinson, Valley Vista High School (Continuation), "Literacy Across the Curriculum"

Huntington Beach

  • Temple Salas-Yoshii, Oak View Elementary School, "Book Grant"

Huntington Park

  • Keith Drucker, Centennial College Preparatory Academy, "Book Grant"


  • Norma Martinez, Oak Street Elementary School, "Literacy a Way of Life"
  • Alison Diaz, Environmental Charter Middle School, "Book Grant"


  • Laurie Lawver, Orchard Hills School, "Book Grant"
  • Kathie Burns, Arnold O. Beckman School, "Book Grant"

La Canada

  • Justin Valassidis, La Canada High School, "Curriculum Design"


  • Margie Armstrong, Esther Lindstrom Elementary School, "Book Grant"

Los Angeles

  • Tiffany Khauo, Ambassador School of Global Education, "Knowledge Soughter and the Chamber of Reading"
  • Juan Alvarez, Carthay Circle Elementary School, "The Power of a Spoken Story"
  • Jessica Sumption, Franklin Avenue Elementary School, "Kindergarten Early Literacy & Reading"
  • James Carmicle, Hollywood High School, "Senior Project Enhancement"
  • Daisy Cabezas, Magnolia Science Academy-6 (Palms), "Promoting Critical Thinking Skills"
  • Diana Kurashima, Mar Vista Elementary School, "We Can Read"
  • Antonio Felix, Nativity School Los Angeles, "The Reading Olympics"
  • Lillian Alba, Open Charter Magnet School, "Percy Jackson and the Openians"
  • Bertha Melendez, Robert Louis Stevenson Middle School, "Tackling Social Issues Through Literature Circles"
  • Roberta Garcia, St. Ignatius of Loyola School, "Books R Us"
  • Laura Anicich, St. Brendan School, "The Brendan Bear"
  • Jae Kim, St. Eugene School, "Book Grant"
  • Lupe Ramos-Silva, St. Turibius School, "MIND Research Institute Math and Music Program"
  • John Stradley, Verbum Dei High School, "Scholastic Reading Counts"
  • Dennis Fulgoni, Washington Irving Middle School, "Book Grant"
  • Kathy Crowe, Windsor Hills Magnet School, "Book Grant"
  • Michael Rosner, Wonderland Avenue Elementary School, "Wonderland Way Up Reading"


  • Alison Diaz, Environmental Charter High School, "Book Grant"

Monterey Park

  • Leann Huang, Monterey Highlands Elementary School, "Million Words Milestone"


  • Bill Walters, Los Perales Elementary School, "LP Reads: All Ears and Book Bags"

Newport Beach

  • Kerri Bordelon, Newport Heights Elementary School, "Accelerating Reading in First Grade"

North Hollywood

  • Carla Taravella, Dubnoff Center for Child Development, "Book Grant"


  • Abril Ceja, Prospect Elementary School, "Kindergarten Interventions"
  • Marisa Mallory, Santiago Middle School, "Novel In a Day"

Palo Alto

  • Meg Omainsky, Henry M. Gunn High School, "Historical Fiction Blogs"


  • Melanie Bridges, Val Verde Regional Learning Center, "Book Grant"


  • Shirleen St.Clair, Charles Wagner Elementary School, "Photographs Are Worth a Million Words"

Playa del Rey

  • Jennifer Sullivan, Paseo del Rey Fundamental, "Paint Me Right"

Santa Ana

  • Cheryl Cormier, The Prentice School, "Overcoming Dyslexia Through Reading"
  • Wendy Hudson, Tustin Memorial Elementary School, "Our Journey to Success"
  • Carol Lopez, Santa Barbara School, "Book Grant"

San Bernardino

  • Bonnie Konowitch, Cajon High School, "Book Grant"
  • Denise Chapman, North Verdemont Elementary School, "G.O.pher Reading"

 San Clemente

  • Kristin Orloff, Bernice Ayer Middle School, "Book Grant"

San Diego

  • Elizabeth Whitelock, City Tree Christian School, "MP3 Listening Library"
  • Elijah Bonde, Nativity Prep Academy, "Greek Gods Live"
  • Heather Dierolf, Springall Academy, "I Choose"
  • Amie Wilson, Wangenheim Middle School, "Mack Newbery"

 San Francisco

  • Nancy Good, Cornerstone Academy, "Literacy Program (Pilot Phase 2)"

San Jose

  • Donna Glanville, Brooktree Elementary School, "Book Grant"
  • Linda Barker, Kennedy Elementary School, "Book Grant"
  • Susan Roy, Most Holy Trinity School, "Book Grant"

San Leandro

  • Robin Hom, Chinese Christian School, "Using iLiteracy to Combat Illiteracy"
  • Cynthia Schulz, San Leandro High School, "Book Grant"

San Ramon

  • Megan Keefer, Dougherty Valley High School, "Shakespeare In-School Residency Program"


  • Jennifer Duston, Saticoy Elementary School, "Reading Is For Everyone"

Simi Valley

  • Aimee Montgomery, Abraham Lincoln Elementary School, "Drama Club Musical Performance"
  • Rita Geersen, Abraham Lincoln Elementary School, "Improving Kindergarten and First Grade Literacy"
  • Teri Zahnow, Abraham Lincoln Elementary School, "The Latino Family Literacy Project"
  • Bonny Porter, Knolls Elementary School, "Book Grant"


  • Dean Jennings, Tustin Ranch Elementary School, "Our Journey to Success"
CONTACT: Media Contact:
         Paul Stowell, City National Bank, 213.673.7602

© Copyright 2012, GlobeNewswire, Inc. All Rights Reserved


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