October 2022 Newsletter

A Message from our Executive Director: Urgency and Frustration
Executive Director Angela Marks
I have always loved the rhythm of the school year and especially the excitement, hope, and anticipation of September. This year, more than any other year, however, October is bringing desperate feelings of urgency and impatience. We’ve screened our students, identified those who are at risk of reading failure, and now we need to make sure these students get the support they need as quickly as possible. 
We have no time to waste – not even a day.
Reading Allowed has the privilege of working with truly wonderful students and faculty in four Philadelphia schools in underserved communities and the need is greater than ever. I am not exaggerating when I say that the majority of the students in these schools are reading significantly below grade level and need significant reading interventions.
One of our schools is down five teachers at the moment, classes have been combined, teachers have no prep time and students have more needs than ever. We owe it to these sweet students and teachers to not waste a minute to make sure each student receives the instruction they need to be successful readers. The stakes are just too high. 
Reading Allowed has a lot of work to do, it needs to be done NOW, and it’s daunting. We hope that you will consider supporting us so we can help as many students as possible as quickly as possible. We can’t presume to have answers but we do know that 85% of youth who interact with the juvenile court system are functionally illiterate. 
We know how to do better and now is the time.
Angela Marks
Register Now for
Literacy is a Social Justice Issue
Reading Allowed will present the “Literacy is a Social Justice Issue” Panel Event on Wednesday, October 26th with a panel discussion featuring Free Library President and Director, Kelly Richards, and 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. WHYY on-air host and reporter, Avi Wolfman-Arent, will serve as the event moderator.
Seats are limited and filling up quickly! Due to an overwhelming response, we are pleased to announce a virtual Livestream option for attendance.
Thank you to our sponsors and supporters for making “Literacy is a Social Justice Issue” possible!
  • Wilson Reading System®
  • Woodlynde School
  • Everyone Reads PA
  • Barbara E. Cohen, M.D. & Martin S. Polinsky, M.D.
  • Meghan & Anthony Fotopoulos
  • Tal Pipano & Valerie Brand Pipano
  • Sarian Strategic Partners

Candid’s 2022 Gold Seal of Transparency
We’re excited to share that Reading Allowed has earned a 2022 Gold Seal of Transparency on GuideStar with Candid! Now, you can support our work with trust and confidence by viewing our #NonprofitProfile below
Reading Allowed Tutors and Staff, Hard at Work
Reading Allowed Program Director, Jen Curyto, visited Visitation BVM School to teach a Kindergarten Fundations lesson. We love seeing our team in the classroom with our students!
 Reading Allowed Program Director, Katie McShane, represented RA at Tree House Books’ Philadelphia Literacy Day, in September. The festival, “Books Not Bullets: Community Healing After Violence” celebrated Philadelphia’s North Central neighborhood and all of the programs working to make Philadelphia a city of readers, writers, and thinkers.
Reading Allowed tutors attended a virtual DIBELS- Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills-training as a team. DIBELS is a set of procedures and measures for assessing the acquisition of literacy skills.
Anthony’s Coffee House for a Cause
On September 24th, Anthony’s Italian Coffee & Chocolate House in South Philadelphia’s Italian Market hosted their annual Coffee for a Cause. This year, Reading Allowed was the beneficiary of their generosity! The beautiful evening dining under the stars on 9th Street included food provided by Italian Market vendors, music, dancing, and raffles. 
Thanks to the thoughtfulness of Anthony’s and those who supported the event, Coffee for a Cause raised over $5,800 for Reading Allowed! We are so appreciative of their generosity!
 Angela and Anthony, owners of Anthony’s Italian Coffee & Chocolate House
Everyone had a wonderful time at Coffee for a Cause
Recommended Reading: Literacy in the News
Inside the Massive Effort to Change the Way Kids Are Taught to Read, published by Time, highlights the need for systematic and consistent instruction in phonemic awareness and phonics in classrooms, especially on the heels of students’ virtual learning and its effect on literacy. Featured in this piece is Kareem Weaver, a former educator and Oakland-based NAACP activist whose petition to rethink reading instruction in his own district has made traction nationwide: so far, in 2022, five states have passed laws that require training for teachers in phonics-based reading techniques
Kareem is featured in The Right to Read, an upcoming documentary that follows teachers and families of students fighting to provide children with “the most foundational indicator of life-long success: the ability to read.” Read the full piece here.
In School Is for Learning to Read, a guest essay written by Emily Hanford, a senior education correspondent for American Public Media, the author recognizes that schools need to not only teach children to read but also how to read. “There’s increasing awareness that many children are struggling because they’re not getting the instruction they need. At least 30 states have instituted new policies or laws to try to bring schools in line with the science of reading,” Emily explains in this piece.
The op-ed also notes that many districts rely on families to provide the safety net for their students in the event of reading difficulties and that most median-income families have the means to enlist the help of private tutoring. “This exacerbates inequality in an already unequal education system. “This exacerbates inequality in an already unequal education system,” Emily states. Read the full article here.
Help us Fund Our 2022/2023 Goals
We Know You’ll Fall for This List
With the change in weather, the falling of colorful leaves, and the anticipation of Halloween, we welcome the new season with a list of books for your young readers

By Bob Raczka (Gr. K-3)
This title, featuring a young boy and his canine companion, offers a funny, wacky take on familiar fall activities.

By Bruce Goldstone Gr. 1-3
Revolving around the idea that “Autumn is a season of awesome changes,” the text takes readers through some of them: Days get colder and shorter; frost forms; farmers harvest their crops; some animals migrate, hibernate, change color, or get ready for the cold in other ways; people play soccer and football, rake leaves and celebrate Halloween and Thanksgiving.

By Helen Cooper (Gr. K-3)
Every day goes smoothly at Hardy Elementary School because Principal Tate keeps everyone happy and everything in order. But when her car breaks down and she’s running late, how will the students, teachers, parents, and visitors get through the day? The solution is simple: everyone at the school must do their part to save the day.

By Stef Wade (Gr. K-2)
How do leaves know when to fall? Lance Cottonwood is the sharpest leaf in school. He aces all his courses, including Budding, Wind Resistance, Photosynthesis 101, and Pigment Changing. The autumn semester brings anxiety, though. How will he pass the final exam and float effortlessly from his tree to the ground as he’s supposed to? Lance has a big problem for a leaf: he’s afraid of falling!
Reading Allowed participates in the United Way’s Donor Choice Program. Our Donor Code is 55108

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