Knowing how to read, and write, and do so well, are basic rights for all Philadelphia children.

As of 2017, two out of every three children in Philadelphia enter the fourth grade unable to read at grade level. As instruction shifts from learning-to-read to reading-to-learn, those children are often left even further behind in every subject area, making it all the less likely they will graduate from high school on time.

The good news is that research also shows us that all children are capable of making great strides, if not leaps, in reading ability with help from those who care for and love them inside and outside the classroom and through small changes in everyday interactions.


Together we can make reading-by-4th a reality for all Philadelphia children.

Read by 4th is an unprecedented citywide effort, managed by the Free Library of Philadelphia, with the goal of doubling the number of children reading at grade level by 4th grade by 2020.

Through Read by 4th’s ever-growing coalition of partners (91 at last count) and ongoing community outreach, we are coming together as Philadelphians to embrace our collective responsibility of giving all our children their best shot at success.

Our work is guided by a strategic theory of change and a dual micro and macro approach focused on:

1) Getting our children ready for school.
2) Making perfect attendance a weekly family goal.
3) Ensuring quality reading and writing instruction and the right books in classrooms.
4) Maximizing out-of-school time (OST) and preventing the summer slide in learning.
5) Supporting our families in leveraging teachable moments.
6) Creating learning landscapes and showcasing how Reading is Everywhere in Philadelphia.

We are parents, relatives, neighbors, teachers, researchers, pediatricians, literacy specialists, community organizers, faith leaders, camp counselors, after-school program providers, neighborhood shop owners—virtually anyone who cares about and can connect with, children and their families. Find out how you can help.