As part of my “Last Minute Christmas Gift Ideas for the Literary Minded” post, I shared the idea of giving a donation in someone’s name to a literacy-promoted charity. As someone who reads all the time, it saddens me to realize that many children can’t read. I know many literature lovers feel the same way.
Why I support Literacy Non-Profits
I spent my last summer working as a reading coordinator for an amazing summer day camp program. I assessed children’s reading level on the first day, and worked with kids and volunteers to make sure every child had access to books and a reading time during the summer. In those three months, I saw so much progress, which may not have been the case for those children if hadn’t come to the summer program every day. Once of the best memories of my life was when one of the little boys I had been working with every day finally said the alphabet correctly. I had to turn away so he wouldn’t see me cry proud tears! We used a “Dr. Suess alphabet book” for so many days that I was starting to dream about it, but it was worth it to hear him go from A to Z without a hitch. Literacy was important to me before, but now I think about the kids I taught this summer when I think about how so many children go without proper literacy education.
Therefore, I just wanted to bring some attention to some reading nonprofits. I can’t personally vouch for any of these, as I have not worked with them/donated to them, but the ones listed are all rather well-established organizations.
Reading is Fundamental
I think Reading is Fundamental is probably the most well-known literacy nonprofit. According to their website, it’s the USA’s oldest and largest literacy nonprofit. RIF, as its often called, works with young children and delivers free books and other literacy resources through schools and foundations. I actually remember getting to go to a RIF book fair a few times a year in elementary school and getting to choose a free book to take home. I still have one of those books. You can check out Reading Is Fundamental’s website, Flickr, Twitter, Youtube, and Facebook page.
You can get involved by: advocating, volunteer by conducting reading activities, raising awareness, and organizing books, and donating.
The cool thing about Read Indeed is that it was started by a sixth grader, Maria Keller. Her goal is to collect and distribute books to those in need. Since her initial idea, Read Indeed has become a 501c(3) organization that collects and distributes books to children who in other circumstances might not ever get their own books. You can visit the Read Indeed website and twitter.
You can get involved by: holding a book drive, donate individual books, or volunteer(in the Twin cities area of the US).
First Book works to provide books for children in low-income families in both the United States and Canada. First Book works with educators to provide drastically reduced-price and free books. You can read more about what they call “Innovation in Publishing”. I don’t understand this industry enough to really understand what’s changing, but I wanted to highlight their different approach to getting books into the hands of kids. You can visit the First Book website, twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr.
You can get involved by: monetary donations, volunteering, and fundraising.
Reading Partners works in specific cities in the United States to pair struggling readers up with partners to help children’s reading ability grow. Reading Partners works with children in low-income communities to give children one-on-one reading time. You can visit Reading Partners’ website and Facebook page.
You can get involved by: volunteering if you live in certain areas(for more information on what areas Reading Partners works in, you can check out the website), and donating.
Reach Out and Read
I think the idea of Reach Out and Read is really original and really targets a demographic that might otherwise be overlooked: Pediatric patients. Reach Out and Read’s mission is to partner with medical facilities and give new books to children as well as teach parents the importance of reading out loud. You can visit the Reach Out and Read website, Facebook page, Twitter, Youtube, and Pinterest.
You can get involved by: advocating, donating, and volunteering.
These are just a few of the literacy nonprofits out there that I wanted to highlight. I hope you’ll consider getting involved with one! If you’re international, this post is practically a master list(125 to be exact) for literacy nonprofits. I highly recommend checking it out, as it list not only international nonprofits but also area-specific literacy nonprofits.