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.
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.
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!
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.
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
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
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:)
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!