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Philadelphia Reads

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Nonprofit Overview

Mission: 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.

Results: 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: 3800

Geographic areas served: Philadelphia

Programs: 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.

Community Stories

13 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Elizabeth U.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Donor

Rating: 5

A wonderful place for teachers throughout Philadelphia to get much needed books and teaching materials for free. Whenever we drop off our elementary school's book collection, the place is buzzing with teachers getting books!

Donor

Rating: 5

Each year, the students at Lynnewood Elementary School in Havertown, PA, donate 2000+ books to a week-long book drive to benefit Philadelphia Reads. The children at Lynnewood have access to classroom libraries, a school library and a township library. They are aware that they are helping to build classroom libraries and improve literacy skills. Equally important, the children get to see how their many simple acts of generosity can help so many children in need.

Former staff

Rating: 4

All summer at Education Works Morton Site we had a fabulous time doing the Philly Reads program. The theme this year was Growing A Peaceful Community and we did just that right at camp. Every day we read a story based on building the character of every individual camper while showing them how to independently build a better community at the same time. Touching on the vocabulary prior to doing a read aloud assisted campers with comprehending every story that much more. Reading stories such as City Green and following up with arts and crafts peeked their interest to no return. They created ideas to pick up the park, reuse classroom paper, and turn out the lights whenever we left our room. Our class did all of those things in order to support a green environment. Meanwhile, we studied how plants grow and analyzed how they helped our communities as well. Giving a child a magnifying class will turn them into an instant scientist who is ready to dive into action head first. Their observations and discussions lead right back to how each one thought he or she could contribute to Growing a Peaceful Community. There was a trip to the Constitution Center that helped give the campers that sense of pride that We The People are what creates this country. It reiterated how neighborhoods work together which was reviewed several times at camp during civic lessons. Campers enjoyed sharing the creative ideas on how to be better citizens and how to help others that were written down in journals. Keeping track of the campers journals was a wonderful way to see how they were stacking upon their prior knowledge throughout the summer. The kids were so enthusiastic about improving their community that they wanted to spread the news. After reading Wanda’s Roses they developed an idea to send out invitations to the entire camp. The kids wanted to have a Planting Party. I thought this was the perfect plan and we jumped right into creating invitations. We had the camp arrive at our class and listen to a story about a woman who planted trees all over her country through the help of others. Afterward, the campers were all given marigold seeds, a little cup, and soil to make their own plant. It was a great success and the kids excitedly cleaned up after our guests left while discussing how the whole Morton Site was affected by something we had implemented. Every story had a meaning and every story had a huge impact on which direction we should take our fantastic fun activities that related to the stories. The entire season was just proof that Philly Reads....and loves it

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

I csn"t thank the Book Bank enough for helping me to help the children of Phila. You have put books into the hands of children and given them the desire to read! Thank you again for all that you do. Paula

5

Client Served

Rating: 5

The Philadelphia Reads program does wonders for the students it serves in Philadelphia. It gives classroom teachers the opportunity to expand classroom, school and home libraries. It is a TRUE BLESSING to educators, students and parents and makes a PROFOUND impact on quality books being available to students. And, it gets better each year:)

5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

5

Client Served

Rating: 5

A couple years ago, I began my first years teaching and I knew that I would need to build a classroom library for my fifth graders. I began to panic because I was a week away from the opening week of classes, when my coworkers forwarded me to the book bank run by Philadelphia Reads. Once, I got to the book bank I felt like I was in a toy store. The books were already leveled, neatly compiled and in great condition. Of course, I was then able to expose my students to a myriad of materials. I am always referring other educators to the book bank for their literature needs. It is a phenomenal resource for the educator and students alike.

5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

5

Donor

Rating: 5

For the past three years, Lynnewood Elementary school has run a book drive to support the Book Bank at Philadelphia Reads. This is a simple service project. The fortunate children at Lynnewood unload their home bookcases (to make room for new books) and donate their gently used children's books to the book bank. They understand that the book bank helps to create classroom libraries in lower income schools. At the end of the week, the students pack the books in boxes and parent volunteers deliver about 700 beautiful books to the Book Bank at Martin Luther King High School. The staff at the book bank is very interested, organized and helpful. We will try to get all the local elementary schools in Havertown to participate in this project next year!

5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

5

Client Served

Rating: 5

PhiladelphiaREADS runs the Book Bank (BB) at King High School. The BB is an AMAZING resource for all educators! Any teacher or educator is allowed to go to the BB any time (when they're open, which is just Wednesdays from 2-5pm, approximately) during the year, as many times as he/she likes, and may take--for FREE--up to 300 books per year!!! The BB is really a place to see--a huge room in the high school that acts as a warehouse for SO many books, including classroom sets, foreign language books of all levels, school supplies, workbooks, board books for babies, encyclopedias...different selection depending on what's been donated, but most are in excellent condition, some are brand new, some are fairly used. But it's just a true gem of a resource and teachers city-wide should really take advantage of this!