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New Foundation Helps Oakland School Children as Schools Deal with Budget Cuts




“If we want any hope in transforming our largest inner cities, we have to start early.  It’s all about literacy and the right kind of literacy,” said Todd J. Courtney, the founder of the Max Rhymes Foundation.  “Given the lack of civility and the evaporation of our social manners towards one another, it’s time to push the pendulum back the other way.”

In the last year and half, the foundation has published six inspirational, rhyming books which include “Get Inspired with Max”  and “Max & Molly Learn Their Manners and Daydream with Max & Molly,.

The Courtneys were moved to write their book series after doing research on brain development.

“Due to early brainwave changes, science has proven the learning stage between ages 0-7 is one of the most important of our lives. Max Rhymes takes advantage of this learning period by teaching core values, creating a positive belief system, increasing reading retention and creating higher self-esteem, all through the power of rhymes,” said Courtney.

For example, in “Max & Molly Learn their Manners,” readers will discover the old tradition of addressing adults:

“When I address someone older,

like a neighbor or family friend,

I begin with Mr. & Mrs.

and put their last name at the end.”

The Max Rhymes Foundation not only provides books for the classroom, as well as an 85 page Teacher Resource Guide to compliment the series, they also provide a full set of books for each student to take home as their own. The set includes an 85 page parent activity book, a monthly fun activity book, and free access to the newly developed Max Rhymes “Edutaining Games” to help with spelling, math and eye-hand coordination both in English and in Spanish.

“If we’re going to commit to our children, all our children, then we have to create a saturation of literacy tools. Our politicians either can’t or won’t fix this problem, so we will. It is said the children are our future. If that’s true, can constant budget cuts really be the answer?” said Courtney.

Oakland schools that have recently adopted the program include La Escuelita, Sequoia, Laurel, Reach Academy, Fruitvale, Garfield, Markham, Allendale, Piedmont, Parker, Lincoln, Rise, Grass Valley, Bridges Academy at Melrose, St. Anthony School, St. Elizabeth School, Martin Luther King Jr, ERES Academy, Carl Munck,  & New Highland elementary schools.

To learn more, go to

To reach the Foundation, email

To read about the science behind the rhymes, go to