If you care deeply about children or have kids of your own, you likely understand how reading fosters a love for learning, stimulates imagination, and expands one’s understanding of the world. And data shows that benefits go well beyond the classroom—learners who are proficient in reading by 3rd grade are less likely to experience poverty as adults.
Literacy-based nonprofit Read, Empower, and Distinguish (R.E.A.D.) understands what’s at stake, which is why they work to support learners across their lifespans through culturally competent, evidence-based literacy instruction.
“Our youngest learner is 4 years old, and our oldest is 84 years old,” said founder and executive director Shatoria Whiteside. “We believe that everyone has the capability and capacity to be a great reader. As educators, it’s our job to empower them and to get them to believe in themselves just as much as we do.”
An Impact Grant from the Black Philanthropy Initiative (BPI) helped R.E.A.D train families to support their children at home, particularly over the summer when reading retention tends to slide.
BPI’s Equity in Education Grant helped the organization develop Reading Routes, an at-home caretakers guide to successful literacy instruction. And a BPI Inclusive Economy Grant helped kickstart Trade Off, a program to support families seeking additional resources to gain access to tailored job training, ESL instruction, and financial literacy services.
Shatoria emphasized, “Literacy doesn’t just make people better readers—it empowers them. And learning to read has the power to improve a person’s overall quality of life.”