10 Charities That Promote Literacy

By Dianna Dilworth 

The holidays are just around the corner and many people are looking for ways to give to others. If you want to encourage future readers, we have put together a list of 10 charities that promote literacy. For your exploration below, we’ve listed the name of the charity, their mission statement and linked to their site.

There are certainly many other fine organizations that help teach people to read, so feel free to help us grow this list by leaving your favorite charities that promote literacy in the comments section.

1.Reach Out And Read: “Reach Out and Read prepares America’s youngest children to succeed in school by partnering with doctors to prescribe books and encourage families to read together. Doctors, nurse practitioners, and other medical professionals incorporate Reach Out and Read’s evidence-based model into regular pediatric checkups, by advising parents about the importance of reading aloud and giving developmentally-appropriate books to children. The program begins at the 6-month checkup and continues through age 5, with a special emphasis on children growing up in low-income communities. Families served by Reach Out and Read read together more often, and their children enter kindergarten with larger vocabularies and stronger language skills, better prepared to achieve their potential.”

2. Book Aid International: “Book Aid International increases access to books and supports literacy, education and development in sub-Saharan Africa. We provided 507,787 new books to over 2,000 libraries last year alone and have sent more than 30 million books to partner libraries since 1954.”

3. Literacy for Incarcerated Teens (LIT): “Literacy for Incarcerated Teens, Inc. (LIT) is the only non-profit organization of its kind working to end illiteracy among New York’s incarcerated young people by inspiring them to read. There is a link between engaging young people in meaningful activities, particularly those aimed at helping to shape young people’s identities and outlooks, and their ability to desist from crime. Reading and the practice of literacy—which include access to a library and library services—is a direct way in which young people can begin to focus their identities and outlooks more positively.” (See Biblioball).

4. First Book: “First Book provides access to new books for children in need. To date, First Book has distributed more than 85 million books and educational resources to programs and schools serving children from low-income families throughout the United States and Canada. First Book is transforming the lives of children in need and elevating the quality of education by making new, high-quality books available on an ongoing basis.”

5. Reading Tree: “Reading Tree is a non-profit organization with a mission to provide books to disadvantaged families in the markets we serve. We accept all types of books and support literacy with our sustainable model of reuse, recycling and fund-raising. Reading Tree is committed to keep millions of usable books out of our nation’s landfills. Since 2007, Reading Tree has distributed several million books to Title 1 schools and partnering charities that support local libraries and literacy programs.”

6. United Through Reading: “Our mission is to unite families facing physical separation by facilitating the bonding experience of reading aloud together. Our vision is that all children will feel the security of caring family relationships and develop a love of reading through the read aloud experience. United Through Reading, the nation’s first nonprofit to promote the read aloud experience for separated families, offers deployed parents the opportunity to be video-recorded reading storybooks to their children which creates positive emotional connections and cultivates a love of reading.”

7. Literacy Inc.: “Literacy Incorporated is a non-profit organization on a mission to fight illiteracy across America by reaching out to high school students in all corners of the continental United States.  With new technology coming out seemingly every day, children are not reading like they have in the past.”

8. Building with Books: “We are the battle cry that transforms ‘I can’t’ into ‘I will’. We are the irrepressible hope that helps you see every struggle as an opportunity. We are the electricity that passes from joined hand to joined hand when you help someone in need. We are side by side, hands joined, from Chicago to the Bronx, from Haiti to Malawi, rebelling together against impossible odds. We are what helps you find your ‘GIVE-A-DAMN’ – and without our ‘give-a-damn,’ we are nothing.”

9. The African Library Project: “The African Library Project changes lives book by book by starting libraries in rural Africa.  Our grassroots approach mobilizes U.S. volunteers, young and old, to organize book drives and ship books to a partner library in Africa.  Our method makes a concrete and personal difference for children on both continents.”

10. Books for the Barrios: “BOOKS for the BARRIOS, Inc. is a not-for-profit, public-benefit California corporation run by volunteers that collects school textbooks, educational learning aids and devices from schools, publishers and schoolchildren in the United States and delivers them to remote barrio public schools throughout the Republic of the Philippines. Priority is given to those schools that are most deprived and most remotely located without regard for politics, religion or ethnicity.”