Philly Reading Coaches

PHILLY READING COACHES (PRC) is a program that combines early reading support, access to books, and community volunteers to boost reading skills for our city’s children.

The program works by pairing trained volunteers with young students – kindergarten through 3rd grade, and by providing fun and child-guided reading experiences that help build reading skills and motivation. Each child in the program also receives 25 free books to take home.

For the 2020-2021 school year, PRC is going virtual! Children will receive one-one-one reading support and guidance from a trained volunteer, all in a secure online setting. Children will still receive 25 books each to build their home library, and in addition, they will have access to the online Literacy Pro platform where they can choose from an ebook library of more than 2,300 titles. Our virtual program is open to School District of Philadelphia students and recommended for grades 1–3.

To learn more about PRC’s virtual pilot, listen to this KYW story: Reading coaches go online to help Philly kids avoid summer slide.

The Need

Children who can read well by 4th grade have a better chance for high school success. Right now, two out of three Philadelphia students are struggling to reach that crucial goal.

The Impact

It sounds simple, doesn’t it? It is simple – but the results are powerful:

  • Studies have shown significant improvement in students’ reading ability with just 60 minutes of one-on-one reading time each week over the course of a school year.
  • Children with 25 books in their home are more likely to complete two more years of school on average than kids with no books at home.
  • Reading comprehension and language skills may improve because children select from a range of books that both mirror and expand their world.
A Proven Model

Philly Reading Coaches is based on the SMART program, which has run statewide in Oregon for the past 26 years. To learn more, visit the SMART website and view their theory of change.

Learn More About Early Literacy & Out-of-School Time

Read the Research for Action reports on national best practices & Philadelphia’s local landscape in the Research & Analysis section of this website.

Become a Reading Coach!
No prior experience needed.

Click Here to Fill Out Our Interest Form and become a Philly Reading Coach!

Philly Reading Coaches’ child guided reading program is going virtual for the 2020-2021 school year. Fill out the volunteer interest form if you are interested in reading online with a child at least once per week.

By becoming a PHILLY READING COACH, you’ll help ensure our city’s kids can read at grade level when they enter fourth grade. Just an hour a week can make a difference in the life of a child who is learning to read!

Committed volunteers, who can be as young as 14 years old, will spend a minimum of one hour, once a week reading online with a young person, helping them to gain confidence in their reading abilities and discover the love of reading.

Reading sessions take place after school between the hours of 3:00 PM to 6:00 PM.

See the PRC Site Map here.

Contact Us!
PRC@phila.gov

To learn more about what volunteering with PRC is like, read about Shalia’s experience here.

When the two first started working together in January, Soriely would apologize when she didn’t know a word.

“It’s okay,” [Shalia] would tell her. “We’re here to be able to grow.”