Our Story

Each week, more than 500 men and women throughout St. Louis take time out of their routines to keep a weekly date — with a classroom full of preschoolers. Armed with a tote bag full of books and a passion for reading, our Ready Readers volunteers walk into a receptive audience of familiar young faces, all eager to know: “What stories will we hear today?”

When the books come out, the minds open up.

The reader and children take page-by-page journeys to places as near as their hometown and as far away as outer space. They laugh, they sing, they discover new words. They build bonds of trust and friendship as they experience the adventure of reading together. The same reader with the same class, week after week.

In these moments, the goal is not simply to have fun. It is to inspire a love of reading among little learners in low-income communities.

Why? Because literacy lifts lives out of poverty. And by reading to these children early and often, we can better prepare them for success in school and in life.

To build on the momentum of our classroom visits, Ready Readers delivers gift books to each classroom several times per year. Children receive their own personal copies to keep and enjoy with their families at home. Teachers receive a classroom copy to have at the ready when the children inevitably plead, “Read it again!”

Through our weekly reading and gift book programs, through workshops and training for our readers and teachers, and through literacy-themed events outside the classroom, Ready Readers helps children reap the rewards of literacy.

If you love children, enjoy reading or simply want to make a positive impact in your community, we welcome your support – as a volunteer or a donor. Become part of our story – now 20 years in the making – and join us as we write our next chapter.


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Our Numbers

Volunteer readers
Participating sites
Children read to weekly
Books given away since 1997

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