December 2023 Newsletter









Executive Director Message

There’s More Work to be Done


I sat with a group of 8th graders a few weeks ago and they COULDN’T READ. When I say they couldn’t read, I mean they COULDN’T READ. They couldn’t read words like, “ring”, or “difficult” or, “fantastic.” How could these young adults get through eight years of schooling and not be able to read? It’s hard to find the right words.


And these 8th graders aren’t an anomaly. In Philadelphia, only 38% of our students ARE reading proficiently and the percentage for our Black and Brown students who are living in poverty is significantly lower. 

Decades of research show us that 95% of students, REGARDLESS OF THEIR BACKGROUND, can learn to read with explicit, systematic instruction (Structured Literacy).

There is so much work to be done and I ask that as the year draws to a close, you will consider supporting Reading Allowed so that we can change the course of these 8th graders’ lives and the lives of so many other students

like them. 

We at Reading Allowed are so grateful for your support and wish you a wonderful, peaceful and relaxing holiday season.


Peace to all,

Angela Marks

Our Students Cannot Afford to Wait:

Support Reading Allowed This Holiday Season


Reading Allowed is committed to providing one-on-one structured literacy support to all students who need it, regardless of financial circumstances. Our devoted instructors–like Sherraine–are central to our mission. They deliver individualized, high-intensity literacy support in a nurturing environment and significantly impact the academic and personal growth of each student. 

We depend on your generosity to expand our pool of dedicated instructors, expand our reach, and broaden our impact. Your donation to Reading Allowed enables us to train more educators and multiply the number of students who can receive our vital literacy support. 

Make a gift to Reading Allowed.

Angela Marks Testified at the Basic Education Funding Commission

On November 16th, Reading Allowed Founder and Executive Director, Angela Marks, was honored to testify in front of the Basic Education Funding Commission.

The 2023 BEFC is charged with reviewing the distribution of state funding for basic education to Pennsylvania’s 500 school districts and providing a report of its findings to the General Assembly.

The BEFC is a 15-member group consisting of three members from each legislative caucus and three members of the administration.

Watch Angela’s remarks here.

Reading Allowed Nominated for

Social Impact Award

Reading Allowed was selected as a Greater Philadelphia Innovation Award Finalist in the NOT FOR PROFIT: SOCIETAL IMPACT category in recognition of our dedication to the social innovation and entrepreneurship field. Please vote for us by clicking below.

The 2024 Greater Philadelphia Social Innovations Awards celebrates Greater Philadelphia’s Social Innovators. These awards honor the most passionate social innovators, entrepreneurs, and changemakers in our region. The theme of the awards, “Achieving a More Just Society,” recognizes organic leadership who re-envision the challenges that communities face and find innovative solutions to reshape these neighborhoods. 

We would love your support!


Join Us for the Literacy Community of Practice

Educators: are you thinking ahead to the New Year and interested in deepening your literacy practice in the classroom? 

Join our monthly Literacy Community of Practice – a group of literacy leaders committed to improving literacy outcomes for children by sharing ideas, challenges, resources, and research!  

The group will meet online on Thursdays from 4:00-6:00 pm. The next meeting will be January 25, 2024. Additional meeting dates: February 22, March 21, and May 2. Participation is free and flexible – please join as you are and when you can; no pre-work is necessary.  

Please complete the survey if you are interested in participating. Note that this survey also includes some opportunities for reflection and feedback on this past year for those who were able to participate.  Once you complete the survey, you will receive calendar invites for each of our meetings. Meetings are organized and led by Allie Beman, Literacy Consultant, and Megan Zor, ELL Teacher at Moffet Elementary School. 


Do you have a problem that you’d like to discuss and problem-solve with our Community at our upcoming September or October meetings?  Presenting a Problem of Practice entails the following:

  •  A 15-30 minute phone call to discuss the problem together and brainstorm potential resources.
  • The literacy leader (that’s you!) writes up the Problem of Practice–about 1 page long (the process should be brief, 30-60 minutes).
  • Send the Problem of Practice to Allie and Megan a week or more before our meeting.  We will follow up with any feedback/questions (this can be done via email).
  • Allie and Megan will locate research and resources that speak to your problem to use as “lenses” during the meeting.

Please reach out to Allie at or Megan at if you are interested in presenting!


Out and About with Reading Allowed

Reading Allowed recently hosted a screening of The Right to Read at The Symphony House in Center City. From executive producer LeVar Burton, The Right to Read shares the stories of an NAACP activist, a teacher, and two American families who fight to provide our youngest generation with the most foundational indicator of life-long success: the ability to read.

Reading Allowed instructors were thrilled to spend the day at AIM Academy, learning and sharing ideas.

We are grateful to AIM Academy for their incredible generosity and hospitality! You can learn more about AIM Academy here.

Are you interested in viewing the film or hosting a screening?


Children’s Scholarship Fund

Children’s Scholarship Fund Philadelphia offers partial scholarships to help Philadelphia students attend K-8th grade private or tuition-based schools.

Scholarships awarded equal $1,200, $2,400, or $3,200 per student, per year. The scholarship is available for up to 3 students per family, and funds are disbursed directly to the schools to cover tuition costs.

If you meet CSFP’s financial requirements and are a Philadelphia resident with at least one child entering K-8th grade in September 2024, we encourage you to check out CSFP’s scholarship program.

Apply for a scholarship by March 1, 2024 to be considered for selection to receive a

scholarship for next school year.


December Book List:

The holiday season is the perfect time to share a gift that can bring your family closer together: the gift of reading! Grab a blanket, curl up, and dig in!

Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Sleigh!

By Mo Willems

(Gr. K-2) 

The Pigeon is back, and this time he has his sights on something much better than on an old bus . . .

Santa’s sleigh!

Meet the Latkes

By Alan Silberberg

(Gr. K-2)  


Lucy Latke’s family is just like yours or mine. Except that they’re potato pancakes. And also, they are completely clueless. After lighting the menorah and gobbling the gelt, Grandpa Latke tells everyone the Hanukkah story, complete with mighty Mega Bees who use a giant dreidel to fight against the evil alien potatoes from Planet Chhh. It’s up to the Latke family dog to set the record straight.

The People Remember

by Ibi Aanu Zoboi

(Gr. K-5) 

A moving history of African American life that also explains the seven principles of Kwanzaa. Opening with Africans from many ethnic groups being ripped from their homelands in the midst of births, deaths, storytelling, and other daily occurrences, this picture book walks the reader through many years of history including the Atlantic slave trade, the plight and escape of enslaved people, emancipation, northern migration, faith journeys, and ending with the Movement for Black Lives.


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