PHILLY READING COACHES (PRC) is a new 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.

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.

Fill Out Our Interest Form

By becoming a PHILLY READING COACH, you’ll help ensure our city’s kids can read at grade level when they enter fourth grade.

Committed volunteers, who can be as young as 13 years old, will spend a minimum of one hour, once a week reading one-on-one with a youngster, 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.

Contact Us!
PRC@phila.gov
215-686-0317

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.”