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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

3 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters


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!


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.



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!