April 2023 Newsletter








Executive Director Message

Philadelphia’s Struggling Readers

Need Quantity and Quality

I attended the Bar Mitzvah of a wonderful young man last weekend and listened to the Rabbi talk about a photography teacher who divided his class into two groups. The first group were tasked with producing one perfect photograph by the end of the semester and the other group was tasked with producing as many as possible.

At the end of the semester, it was the group tasked with quantity rather than quality that produced the finest photos. They had experimented, made mistakes, made more mistakes and, as a result, had refined their skills. The photo produced by the first group was an average photo and the students hadn’t learned a great deal.

Angela Marks, Executive Director

This got me thinking about Reading Allowed. It is the high quality of our instruction that sets us apart from our organization and we are committed to not compromising this quality at the expense of quantity. And yet, we need both.

The National Bureau of Economic Research conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of the experimental evidence of the effects of tutoring on PreK-12 learning and concluded that it, “is one of the most versatile and potentially transformative educational tools in use today.” An EdResearch for Recovery study describes the design principles for effective tutoring and concluded amongst other things that:

  • Tutoring can meaningfully increase learning for a wide variety of K-12 students.
  • High-dosage tutoring—defined as more than three days per week or at a rate of at least 50 hours over 36 weeks—is one of the few school-based interventions with demonstrated large positive effects on both math and reading achievement.
  • While effective tutoring programs can be expensive, their large average effects make them highly cost-effective relative to many other educational interventions.
  • Tutoring is one of the most effective ways to increase achievement for students from lower-income families.
  • Although high-dosage tutoring is an excellent strategy for addressing COVID-19 learning loss, students most likely to benefit from high-dosage tutoring are the least likely to have adequate access without direct school or district action.

Struggling readers need quality and quantity and that is what Reading Allowed delivers to its students. They need high-dosage tutoring – at least three days a week and as many weeks as possible. We don’t let the summer slow us down! And they receive literacy instruction delivered by instructors certified and experienced in a structured literacy approach.

Every Philadelphia student deserves quantity and quality and we need to work together to make sure this happens.

Angela Marks



We’re Hiring – Join our Team!

Reading Allowed is in search of a Program & Development Administrative Assistant to join our team! This full-time position is 90% remote and requires a Bachelor’s degree in a related field OR relevant experience.



Summer with Reading Allowed

To help students continue with their progress this summer, we will have an instructor on-site at Friends Select School in Center City Philadelphia and at SCH Academy in Chestnut Hill.

The Village Norristown Library

Our board member, Cathy Kaufman, spent time organizing books and creating wonderful reading spaces at The Village Norristown. We are grateful for her expertise, and appreciative of our partnership with the Village at Norristown!

Angela recently spoke with Keila Molina, Director of The Village Norristown, who shared how the collaboration between Reading Aloud and her organization has made a positive impact on her students.

St. Peter’s School – City Scholars Program

St. Peter’s School is accepting applications for their City Scholars Program, a scholarship for students who reside in Philadelphia entering Fifth through Eighth Grades.

The scholarship includes full tuition for each year a student is enrolled at the school beginning in fifth grade. The goal of the program is to “enroll new students into the upper grades of the school and for them to benefit from the unique SPS experience and close-knit community, as a springboard for preparation into high school upon graduation.”



April Book Recommendations
There are so many things going on in the month of April! We celebrate April Fool’s Day, Easter, Passover, Earth Day, Spring, and Poetry Month.  Here is a fun list that covers a little bit of everything. Click here to read our full list.



Ellie May on April Fools’ Day

By Hillary Homzie (Grades 1-4)

Quirky and funny Ellie May can’t believe her class is allowed to celebrate April Fools’ Day–so long as it’s done in good fun. She absolutely loves the idea of targeting a certain someone–the practically perfect Ava. Practicing on her parents and sisters, Ellie May begins to brainstorm harmless pranks. But her good intentions quickly turn the classroom and her home upside-down!



April Foolishness

BTeresa Bateman (Grades K-2)

Grandpa’s no chump. The grandchildren have come to the farm for the day and they hurtle through the door with all manner of wild news: The cows are loose! The pigs are in the tomatoes! The sheep are eating the neighbor’s lawn! “Grandpa, oh, Grandpa! / The goats are all freed! / They’re running around / in a smelly stampede!” But Grandpa knows that it’s April 1st and he isn’t biting.


April Fools’, Mr.Todd!
By Megan McDonald (Grades PK-2)

April Fools’ Day is Judy Moody’s favorite day of the year. And this year, thanks to an awesome present from her brother, Stink she’s got the perfect prank to play on her teacher Mr. Todd.  But in all the excitement over spaghetti trees, April fish, and fools’ errands, Judy worries that something else will be forgotten by Mr. Todd and Class 3T altogether: April 1 also happens to be Judy’s birthday!


The Great Eggscape!
By Jory John (Grades K-3)

Shel (an egg) isn’t a huge fan of group activities, especially when he’s made to be “It” for a game of hide-and-seek. Nevertheless, Shel doesn’t want to let his friends down, so he reluctantly plays, anyway. But after a morning of hiding and seeking, somebody’s still missing. Will the dozen egg friends ever be reunited?


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