January 2023 Newsletter

A Message from our Executive Director
Literacy is a Social Justice Issue


Executive Director Angela Marks

“I see it as basic as a right to clean water.” – Symone Walker, co-chair of Arlington’s NAACP education committee

It is really gratifying to see more and more articles like this in The Hechinger Report as well as this one, discussing the idea that access to the highest quality literacy instruction is the civil rights issue of the 21st century.

Reading Allowed has been shouting about this since our founding in 2019. We’ve been talking about the “School to Prison Pipeline,” the statistics described in these articles on communities such as Fairfax County, where the gap in reading performance between Black and white students was nearly 20 percentage points—virtually unchanged since the district had first made “minority achievement” a priority in 1984. And we’ve been YELLING about the fact that families with means pay a lot of money to make sure their children become proficient readers while families without the means are out of luck.

Access to the highest quality literacy instruction is a basic right that should be available to every student regardless of their background or financial circumstances. Until this happens, Reading Allowed will continue to shout and will continue to provide the highest quality structured literacy instruction regardless of financial circumstances.

We hope  you will join us on January 23rd for the second event in our Speaker Series, “Literacy is a Social Justice Issue.” We will be hearing from Resha Conroy, founder of the Dyslexia Alliance for Black Children. Resha became involved in racial equity in literacy after witnessing the treatment of her son, a Black male with dyslexia, by the public schools.

Wishing you and your families a healthy and happy new year and, as always, thank you for your support that makes our work possible. And yes, “the time is always right to do what’s right.”

Angela Marks

Join us for Literacy is a Social Justice Speaker Series, a conversation with Resha Conroy

Reading Allowed, supported by Read by 4th, will continue its Literacy is a Social Justice Issue” Speaker Series on Monday, January 23rd with a discussion and Q&A with Resha Conroy, Founder and Chairperson of the Dyslexia Alliance for Black Children.

A mother of two children with learning differences, including a son with dyslexia, Resha is motivated by her family’s journey and a lifelong passion for education reform to bring awareness to the intersectionality of race and literacy.

Attention Educators:
Join us for Literacy Community of Practice

Please join us for our next Literacy Community of Practice virtual meeting on Thursday, January 26, from 4 pm to 6 pm. At this meeting, Becca Lamar from PA Keys to Quality will be presenting a problem of practice about increasing the engagement of educators in social justice standards learning.

Please complete the survey below (simply click the button) if you’d like to be added to our invites, or contact Allie Beman or Megan Zor with questions.

Save the Date for our Virtual Open House

Our Board of Directors Welcomes

Meredith Jermann

We are honored to welcome Meredith Jermann to the Reading Allowed Board of Directors!

Meredith is an Underwriter at PNC Bank, where she supports financing needs of corporate clients within diverse industries in the Philadelphia / Southern New Jersey geographic area. Meredith was formerly a Relationship Manager at PNC from 2004 – 2013, and held a similar role at The Bank of Nova Scotia from 1994 – 2004. Ms. Jermann received a BA from The University of Northern Iowa in 1990 and an MBA from the University of Rochester in 1994.

Thank you to

Anthony’s Italian Coffee & Chocolate!

Anthony’s Italian Coffee & Chocolate House continued their support of Reading Allowed by raising money through sales of their Caffe di Causa.

Their exclusive blend of coffee was created back in 2018 to help support children with dyslexia. Anthony’s has generously donated a portion of the sales of Caffe di Causa to Reading Allowed, in conjunction with their September event, Coffee for a Cause.

Pick up your bag of Caffe di Causa at their store, on 9th Street in the Italian Market, or online!

Our Reading Allowed Family is Growing!

Congratulations to Reading Allowed instructor, Mary Kate Moran Warner, on the birth of her son, Thomas Lawerence Warner!

Thomas arrived during the holiday season at 21” and 10 lbs 2 oz. We are so happy for Mary Kate and her family!

Recommended Reading

In the article, “In Memphis, the Phonics Movement Comes to High School,” New York Times journalist Sarah Mervosh highlights a science of reading-based program in Memphis that shows high school students’ success.

Focused on expanding vocabulary and providing teens with reading strategies, like decoding words, the curriculum is being utilized in English and math, science, and social studies classes. These fundamentals are traditionally taught in elementary school. Click below to understand why this literacy curriculum is critical for struggling readers of all ages. Photo credit: Andrea Morales for the New York Times.


January Book Recommendations:

Happy Birthday Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

On Monday, January 16, we celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his role as a leader of the Civil Rights Movement. Here are a few books to read with children of all ages to honor Dr. King’s powerful message.

The Story of Martin Luther King Jr.: A Biography Book for New Readers
By: Christine A. Platt a (Ages 6-8)

Before he made history with his powerful speeches and peaceful protests, Martin was a dedicated, smart kid who loved to learn. He challenged racism and overcame hardships to follow his passion and do the right thing. Explore how Martin went from being a kid with a dream to an outstanding leader who made America a better place for everyone.


Be a King: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Dream and You
By Carole Boston Weatherford (Grades K-3)

Most young people recognize Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s iconic “I Have a Dream” speech, but few can actually explain why Dr. King’s dream applies to them. The message is simple: be honest, keep learning, act on your individual conscience.



My Daddy, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
By Martin Luther King lll (Grades K-3)

“There have been a lot of books written about my father. But not a whole lot has been written about my dad,” explains Martin Luther King III. In this book, King remembers his father with affection and pride. Called Marty as a child, Martin Luther King III spent his childhood learning difficult lessons about segregation, jail and protest marches. But just as importantly, Dr. King was a loving and playful father to his children.

Reading Allowed participates in the United Way’s Donor Choice Program. Our Donor Code is 55108

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