We live in such a privileged society, yet 1 out of every 4 American children will grow up without learning to read.
Children today are literally “the future of our country” so this statistic is upsetting to say the least. It’s so important that early on in their lives they are exposed to skills like reading — it is the foundation of education. And without education, their potential is significantly lessened. Unfortunately, not all families have the means to provide this foundation for their children.
Organizations like Ready Readers in Saint Louis, MO are changing this.
Ready Readers is an official 501(c)3 organization whose mission is “to inspire preschool-age children from low-income communities to become readers by reading aloud to them, increasing their exposure to quality books, and providing literacy-related experiences.”
Pat Simons founded Ready Readers in 1997 after seeing her husband’s (a pediatrician) growing concern over the number of young children he treated that did not read, hadn’t been read to or had never even seen a book! She realized that there wasn’t a program in the St. Louis area that was dedicated to literacy/reading for preschool-age children.
She made it her mission to prepare and excite young kids to read! What started as a small group of people collecting and reading books eventually grew into what Ready Readers is today.
Ready Readers relies on 570 volunteers to read aloud to over 8,700 children in low-income classrooms throughout the Metro area for 30 minutes a week. The volunteer is assigned to the same classroom every week so that they can begin growing a special relationship with the children—one that makes the kids excited about reading. All of the children receive 7 high-quality books throughout the year to keep—this grows their own library and encourages reading for enjoyment at home!
Ready Readers is always in need of volunteers! If interested, fill out an application and someone will contact you to set up a time and place where you can begin your weekly reading session. A small amount of your time each week greatly impacts these children’s lives.
Besides volunteers, Ready Readers also greatly appreciates donations of new or gently used preschool-age children’s books—these are used to grow classroom libraries and given to the children to keep. Learn more on how you can donate or even host a drive here.
And of course, monetary donations are always welcome—just $60 provides the program to one child for one year!
Ready Readers depends on the generosity of the Saint Louis community alone to continue to inspire young childrens’ minds through reading—please consider supporting this wonderful organization.
To support Ready Readers and our #GLSTL25 effort, I am going to be collecting 250 books to donate.