November 2022 Newsletter



A Message from our Executive Director: Jolting Stats


Executive Director Angela Marks
Did you know that:
  • More than 66% of children in the U.S. are not proficient readers.
  • 79% of low-income students, 82% of Black students, and 77% of Hispanic students are not on track for reading by fourth grade. 
  • Children not reading by third grade are 4x less likely to graduate high school.
  • Children who begin behind in their academics typically remain behind.
  • 85% of juveniles who interact with the juvenile court system are low literate – there’s a name for it – the school-to-prison pipeline 
I could keep going and going but my point is made. How can we possibly be living in a first-world, civilized country and yet have statistics like these? It doesn’t add up.
My favorite graphic demonstrates that 95% of our students, regardless of their background, can learn to read proficiently with explicit, systematic, and sequential instruction. 
There have been decades of research across many disciplines. We call it the Science of Reading and it has culminated in a huge amount of evidence to inform how proficient reading and writing develop, why some have difficulty, and how we can most effectively assess and teach and, therefore, improve student outcomes through prevention of and intervention for reading difficulties.
We know that early screening and intervention can be four times more effective than waiting for students to fail and that it is essential for many and beneficial for most students to receive instruction and intervention within systems aligned to the Science of Reading and that use structured literacy practices.
So if science is telling us how our students learn to read, why are we so very, very far off? 
I certainly don’t want to be too simplistic and certainly don’t want to presume to understand why our city is in such a dire state. So many things feel out of our control, but teaching our students to read and teaching them to read equitably can and should be in our control.  
We know that this work is hard and requires a systemic, data-driven shift that includes all stakeholders: state, regional and district educational organizations, lawmakers, community organizations, universities, and families. With a commitment to collaboration and high expectations for our kids, we can achieve instructional equity across communities in Pennsylvania.
Wishing you a warm and wonderful holiday season,
Angela Marks
Giving Tuesday – November 29, 2022

GivingTuesday is a global generosity movement that inspires hundreds of millions of people to give, collaborate, and celebrate generosity. This year, celebrate GivingTuesday with a contribution to Reading Allowed. 
Your gift will support our commitment to changing the lives of those who need our services until we have a city where every person who struggles with reading can achieve their full potential and succeed not only in school but also in life. Your involvement is vitally important to Reading Allowed’s continuing growth and service. 
Please consider supporting Reading Allowed on Giving Tuesday. We’re so thankful for your generosity.

“Literacy is a Social Justice Issue”
Recording now Available
Literacy is a Social Justice Issue
Our inaugural Speaker Series event, “Literacy is a Social Justice Issue,” was incredible. We are grateful to our panelists, Free Library President and Director, Kelly Richards; Hilderbrand Pelzer III, educator, and author of Unlocking Potential: Organizing a School Inside a Prison, and Dr. Ernesto Ortiz, Jr. Senior Literacy Engagement Specialist at the AIM Institute for Learning & Research; as well as panel moderator and WHYY on-air host and reporter, Avi Wolfman-Arent.
Check out our photos from the wonderful event.
Panel moderator and WHYY on-air host and reporter, Avi Wolfman-Arent (left) with panelists Dr. Ernesto Ortiz, Jr., Senior Literacy Engagement Specialist at the AIM Institute for Learning & Research; Free Library President and Director, Kelly Richards; and Hilderbrand Pelzer III, educator, and author (left to right).
Reading Allowed Executive Director, Angela Marks M.Ed, shared alarming statistics regarding literacy rates in Philadelphia and the connection to social justice.
Community Partnership School Reading Specialist, Jen Lutz (left) met up with Reading Allowed Program Manager, Katie McShane (middle), and Woodlynde School Parent and Educator, Gloria Clayton (right).
Panelists shared with those in attendance their first-hand experience in literacy, education, and working with incarcerated youth.

Speaker Series Resources:
Below are three resources from the event regarding the Science of Reading, the connection between social justice and literacy, and the illiteracy issue in Philadelphia. Simply click on the text below.
Read more about Reading Allowed and our work to provide structured literacy services to those who need them:

Upcoming Speaker Series Events
Save These Dates in 2023!
Monday, January 16, 2023
(Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day
Resha Conroy
Founder and Chairperson
Dyslexia Alliance for Black Children

Thursday, February 23, 2023
Our Annual Winter Open House!
Details to come soon.

Wednesday, April 12, 2023
Deborah Gordon Klehr
Executive Director, Education Law Center

June 2023
Date and speaker to be determined
Reading Allowed at the PA State Capitol
Reading Allowed Executive Director, Angela Marks, was at the “Literacy is Freedom! Dyslexia Awareness Day” event at the Pennsylvania State Capitol in October where Sen. Katie Muth announced a $3 million grant to create a structured literacy and Science of Reading pilot program that will be available to ten school districts in Senate District 44 across Chester, Montgomery, and Berks Counties.
Reading Allowed is humbled and honored to stand among such passionate and talented individuals ensuring students have access to the best possible literacy instruction.
Help us Fund Our 2022/2023 Goals
We’re Thankful for These Books!
With a few days off to enjoy Thanksgiving, here are a few of our top recommendations. Take a look at this month’s reading recommendations!

By Leigh Hodgkinson (PreSchool – Gr. 2)
A book asks a little boy, “Have you found the perfect snuggle-up-and-lose-yourself-in-a-book-place?” Unfortunately, the book lover in this story cannot, even after searching high and low for the perfect place to read his book. After his frustrating search, he decides the best way to read the book is to share it.

By Jeanette Winter (Gr. 1-4)
In this true story, Luis, an enthusiastic reader, dreams up a way to share his collection with “faraway villages” in Columbia. He starts with two burros—one for himself, one for books—and heads off. Tough terrain and menacing bandits challenge him along the way, but at last he reaches a remote town, where he holds a story hour and loans titles to eager kids before returning home to his wife and reading late into the night.

In 1930s Harlem, Lewis Michaux Sr. opened the National Memorial African Bookstore. The shop became a hub for fostering new ideas and empowering people to make changes.

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

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