Philadelphia READS

What Does Hero Mean?


At Philadelphia READS, heroes are all around us; we think a true hero is anyone who helps a child to succeed. Our programs rely heavily on heroic volunteers to serve our communities: Because of the heroic group of corporate volunteers in our Power Partners program, hundreds of students receive one-on-one literacy tutoring & mentoring every week, as well as a glimpse of where their education can lead them. Because of the heroic group of volunteer coaches, moderators and scorekeepers who serve at our Reading Olympics, hundreds of students are encouraged to compete and bond over a love of reading and critical thinking in Philadelphia’s only city-wide literacy competition. Because of the heroic group of committed and passionate educators, interns and volunteers, we are able to operate our Summer READS program, helping hundreds of students make literacy gains in a supportive environment. Philadelphia READS volunteers have made huge strides in achieving our mission, and we will always welcome more of these heroes to our team. We are honored to provide our heroes with an outlet to improve the lives of local children.

About Philadelphia READS

The mission of Philadelphia READS is to “raise a city of readers” through quality out-of-school-time programs focused on helping children read on or above grade level by grade 4. A proud partner of the “READ! By 4” campaign, the organization relies heavily on volunteers to serve the Philadelphia community. Philadelphia READS helps hundreds of students in the city receive one-on-one literacy tutoring and mentoring every week, and since its inception has distributed more than 100,000 new or nearly new books to hundreds of teachers each year for use in high-need schools. Find out more at

Our Story:

We know that improving the lives of students has a ripple effect, in turn improving their communities. So it is among our most rewarding experiences when we hear from the parents of our students just how much of an impact these heroes have made on their children. Parent Zoraida Casanova echoed our own appreciation as she shared with us the story of her son’s experience with our Summer READS program:

When my child Zander first went to the Summer READS program, I thought that he was not going to be able to make it. I literally stayed parked inside my car in front of the school until it was time to leave because I thought that the staff was going to call me. See, my son suffers from ADHD and PTSD and is currently on chemotherapy for Leukemia. So I was thinking that they will definitely be calling me. I was surprised that Zander was able to behave and get along with the staff since the first day. My son is five years old and at that time hasn’t had any experienced writing or reading. This program got him interested in books and other activities like going to the library and arts and crafts. He loved the program and the staff and was really sad that it ended so soon. He wished it was all year round. Zander had many good experiences and I thanked the well train staff for being mindful, professional, helpful and patient when dealing with my son. Those were the best weeks of his life. He will tell you himself if anyone would ask. Thank you, Summer READS, for giving my son the opportunity to learn words that he never knew, try new things and to interact with other children in the program.