Executive Director’s Message
“If we have the tools to teach everyone how to read, everyone should have access to those tools.”
It’s back-to-school time and the stakes feel especially high this year. Just 38% of Philadelphia students are reading proficiently and in 2022 on the NAEP assessment, Black students had an average score that was 39 points lower than that for White students.
And yet, decades of research have shown that 95% of our students, regardless of their background, can learn to read proficiently (or better) with explicit, systematic, and sequential instruction in foundational skills (Structured Literacy).
That’s why the screening of The Right to Read and panel discussion at the Fillmore on August 29th was such an important and landmark event. It was an opportunity for community members of many backgrounds to come together to learn more about this literacy crisis that affects us all. Check out photos from the evening here.
We were thrilled to host Antoine O’Karma, Director of Early Literacy and Jen Dianna, Director of Curriculum and Instruction, ELA of the School District of Philadelphia for a virtual follow-up discussion to talk about the work the school district is doing to address the crisis and to think about what we all need to do to ensure that every Philadelphia student has access to the highest quality literacy instruction. We will be following up shortly to let you know about more events we have planned.
We know we can’t do it alone and we are honored to have partnered with such incredible local literacy leaders as Read by 4th, the School District of Philadelphia, the Fund for the School District of Philadelphia, Read2Succeed, the Center for Black Educator Development, Teach for America Greater Philadelphia, and Joyful Readers.
We are extremely proud that Reading Allowed will be impacting more than 300 students this school year and that we will be collaborating with many like-minded organizations in Philadelphia. We can’t do it alone.
Thank you for your continued support!
P.S. Did you know that you can dedicate your donation? Touch others with your generous gift in honor of or in memory of someone. Download this PDF card insert to honor your special someone and to let them know about your kind gesture. Donate here.
Philadelphia Tribune Coverage on
“The Right to Read” Documentary
Teresa focuses on language development with her toddler daughter, Ivy. Photo courtesy of RIGHT TO READ.
“The School District of Philadelphia, in partnership with Read by 4th, the Fund for the School District of Philadelphia, Read 2 Succeed, Center for Black Educator Development, Reading Allowed, Teach for America, and Joyful Readers, held a film screening last month of the acclaimed documentary ‘The Right to Read.’”
The event, held at The Fillmore Philadelphia on Aug. 29, was attended by a crowd of over 1,200.’The Right to Read’ explores our early literacy crisis through the lens of an NAACP activist, a teacher, and two families. Through compelling narratives and interviews, the documentary sheds light on the science of how children learn to read as well as the complex history of evidence-based reading instruction.”
Reading Allowed Recently Celebrated with
Free Library of Philadelphia
Foundation Community Impact Award
Reading Allowed Executive Director and Founder, Angela Marks, and Chief Operating Officer, Kara Fisher, attended the Free Library of Philadelphia Foundation Community Impact Awards on September 20th, where RA was recognized for its impact across the city in Early Childhood Literacy.
We are honored to be recognized for our work alongside other literacy leaders such as African American Children’s Books Project, Barbershop Books, Joyful Readers, Philibros, and Read 2 Succeed Philadelphia.
Attention Literacy Educators: Join our Literacy Community of Practice
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 started in Philadelphia in 2016 and has since shifted to meeting online seven times per year.
The group will meet virtually on Thursdays from 4:00-6:00 p.m. The next meeting will be October 19. Additional meeting dates: November 16, January 25, February 22, March 21, and May 2.
Meetings are organized and led by Allie Beman, Literacy Consultant, and Megan Zor, ELL Teacher at Moffet Elementary School. Participation is free and flexible – please join as you are and when you can; no pre-work is necessary.
Please complete the 2023-24 survey if you are interested in participating during the upcoming school year. 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.
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 email@example.com or Megan at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in presenting!
For Your Reader: Stories with Clever Hedgehog
In solidarity with all Ukrainian families, the University of Delaware created Stories with Clever Hedgehog, a website with a wide selection of children’s ebooks and entertainment to help parents reduce children’s stress in these unprecedented times. The content is totally free and is available in both Ukrainian and English!
You and your readers can pick out an ebook to read, music to listen to or sing along with, learn interesting facts, draw pictures and get creative, plan new games with family or friends, follow contests, and much more!
It’s hard to believe that the summer’s over and it’s time to start a new school year. It’s time to hang out with old friends and meet new friends, time for cool new school supplies, and time to try something you’ve never tried before. The books on this listwill remind you . . .
- When something goes wrong in your life, just yell, “PLOT TWIST,” and move on. – Unknown
- If plan A didn’t work, the alphabet has 25 more letters. – Unknown
- You are allowed to scream. You are allowed to cry. But, you are not allowed to give up. – Unknown
The Koala Who Could by Rachel Bright (Grades PK-1)
Although he receives multiple invitations to join the other animals—wombats, dingoes, wallabies, kangaroos, and cassowaries—Kevin finds the ground frightening and prefers to stay aloft, “sticking to what he knew best.” When a bird pecks through the trunk of Kevin’s tree and it crashes to the ground, Kevin finds himself having to face his fears.
Be You! by Peter H. Reynolds (Grades PK-2)
This picture book is a joyful celebration of individuality–and staying true to Y-O-U! Be curious… Be adventurous… Be brave… BE YOU! Discover a joyful reminder of the ways that every child is unique and special.