Philadelphia Reads

Rating: 4.92 stars   13 reviews


325 Chestnut St. Suite 903 Philadelphia PA 19106 USA


To strengthen the literacy skills of Philadelphia’s youngest and neediest school children by providing mentors and resources to in-school, after school and summer programs.


Book Bank has distributed over 45,ooo children’s books to teachers in the last year. Summer Reads had 24 sites serving 700 children developing literacy skills in a “Growing Peaceful Communities” curriculum. Power Partners has 40 classes of 1st-3rd grade public school children visiting 30 companies weekly for indiviual reading coaching. It serves over 1000 kids with over 1700 corporate volunteers. Reading Olympics is a city-wide competition for students in 4th thru 8th grade which promotes reading and teamwork. Last year there were 1700 students from 91 public, private and parochial schools.

Direct beneficiaries per year:


Geographic areas served:



Book bank: the organization organizes book drives for new and gently used children's books. Bookbs are placed in the book bank and 2. 5 million books have been distributed since 1997, free of charge. In 2013-2014 over 101,000 books were distributed to over 1,000 teachers. 25,000 children benefit from this initiative. The goal of the book bank is to enhance classroom libraries and increase independent reading and demonstrates its effectiveness year after year.

power partners: brings together corporations and law firms and matches them with schools. The participants mentor and tutor grade 1 & 2 students weekly at their place of buisness. In the 2013-2014 fiscal year, there were 27 power partner programs serving 997 children. The volunteers receive training and supervision from certified philadelphia reads reading specialists. Each class is given a stipend to purchase books for independent reading for their classroom.

summer reads: an award winning summer academic program. (president;s committee on arts and humanities). Goals for nine inner-city camp sites (800 children) include preventing summer learning loss, keeping children engaged in productive meaningful activities and enhancing their knowledges of literature, reading, writing, science, marth, art, and music. The theme is "stand up, stand out! Now is the time to make a difference. " for this program the organization partners with the franklin institute of science, the kimmel center, the clay studio, young rembrandts, tuneupphilly, all together sing, and educationworks. 84. 2% of students demonstrated growth in their written comprehension skills.

reading olympics: students in grates 4-8 read twenty novels as a team and then compete to test their knowledge of these books in a reading olympics program in may. This before and after school, highly motivating literacy program has grown from 8 teams in 2001 to 150 teams in 2014. The teams came from 161 public, charter, parochial, and independent schools. 2002 children participated in this program. Students read over 25,000 books to prepare for this program. Reading is love: a digital story telling program for parents that want to read to their children but find themselves without a book. The program was launched in june 2013.

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Reviews for Philadelphia Reads

Rating: 5 stars  

Philadelphia Reads is a fantastic organization. Their Power Partners program, which matches inner city students with volunteers at companies throughout the city for one hour of reading per week, is one of the best examples of volunteer based public service that I've encountered. They bring the students to the volunteers, making it easy for busy professionals to fit in the volunteer commitment, and they foster strong volunteer - child relationships through one on one interaction in an environment that is safe.

Over the three years that I have volunteered, I have seen each of my students improve their reading levels. For some students, that progress is about getting the one on one attention to move beyond grade level reading and develop past where the rest of the class might be; for others, it is merely moving from not knowing the alphabet and being completely confused in class to being able to read a few words at the end of the year and follow along when the teacher is facilitating. Literacy is critical to success in so many areas, and this organization is addressing Philadelphia's literacy issues in a way that is both measurable and meaningful to students and volunteers.

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Rating: 5 stars  

I have volunteered several times to sort and shelve books for Philadelphia Reads as part of my company's participation in service days. Each time I have been so impressed with the enthusiasm and dedication of the staff. Seeing the shelves fill up with books that can help hundreds or even thousands of children learn to read and to love it is inspiring.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

A very fulfilling volunteer experience.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Give it lots of money to expand!

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Rating: 5 stars  

5 people found this review helpful

American Executive Centers has volunteered with Phladelphia Reads for the last three years. Our team has been very impressed with the work ethic of all the volunteers at Philadelphia Reads. The Reading Olympics is such a great event for all the children participating across the city and suburbs. This group really is raising a city of readers. A huge endeavor - but their dedication will make them successful. We plan on continuing to support Philadelphia Reads for many years to come.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

very dedicated and determined to raise a City of Readers

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every six months

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?


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Rating: 5 stars  

5 people found this review helpful

Bonnie Stone of Philadelphia Reads provided excellent training for our group of seven tutors. She was enthusiastic, informative and supportive. She provided useful materials and tips and was skilled at balancing the training she offered with the needs and interests of the people she was listening to. In addition, our group of tutors uses many books from the well-organized collection of Philadelphia Reads, and we look forward to continuing to do so. Philadelphia Reads makes it easy to find books in good condition that are fun and age-appropriate for the children we work with.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

With more money Philadelphia Reads could encourage more one-on-one tutoring in and after school while improving the quality of the tutoring. It could also improve the service of the book collection by being able to staff more hours and pay organizers.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About once a year

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?


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Rating: 5 stars  

5 people found this review helpful

My son did his Bar Mitzvah project through Philadelphia Reads. He collected books and recorded 20 books on tape for the project. It was a great experience for him and our whole family. Many hours of reading and helping others to read.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

the easy access to important work to help get books to children who need them.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?


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