9 Best Charities That Promote Reading (Complete 2024 List)

9 Best Charities That Promote Reading (Complete 2024 List)

By
Eniola Adeeko

Read Time:20 Minutes

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Reading is more than a leisure activity. It improves mental health, focus, and communication skills. Reading can also reduce stress and help people learn new things. Yet, over 771 million young people and adults and 250 million children still can’t read. Fortunately, charities are working to promote reading skills among children, teens, and families worldwide. So we had to ask: What are the best charities for reading?

The best charities that promote reading are Reading Is Fundamental and Books for Africa. Charities like Room to Read, Ferst Readers, and ProLiteracy help children and adults improve their reading skills and acquire basic education.

Whether you want to foster a reading culture among children, provide free books to disadvantaged families, or help adults acquire literacy skills, there is a charity for you. Keep reading to learn more about the best charities for reading, how they work, and what your best way would be to make a contribution.

Here’s What All the Best Charities That Promote Reading Have in Common

The charities on this list were chosen based on their mission and impact in helping people learn to read.

They give underprivileged kids free access to high-quality books so they can experience the joy of reading.

Some of these charities also equip families to encourage early literacy development in their children. Others help adults and teens learn to read and acquire basic education.

Yet, they all share the same goal of promoting reading.

These Are the 9 Best Charities That Promote Reading in 2024

Below are our favorite charities for reading (you can click on their link to directly jump to their section in this article):

(At the end of this article, we’ll also share our six-step approach on how you can select the best charity to support.)

1

Reading Is Fundamental: Until Every Child Reads

Logo for Reading Is Fundamental
Reading Is Fundamental, What We Do

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Their transparency & ratings:

Reading Is Fundamental has a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator. They also hold the Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar.

“Reading Is Fundamental believes every child deserves an opportunity to own books, learn how to read, and obtain the fundamental building blocks to achieve their highest potential.”

Reading Is Fundamental

⚒️

What they do:

Reading Is Fundamental provides opportunities for children to improve their reading skills. For example, they run the Books for Ownership program allowing children to select new, age-appropriate books. They also support parents and educators with resources to create a continuous focus on reading. In addition, they run Read for Success, a supplemental reading program for younger children to improve their reading proficiency and encourage a passion for reading. Furthermore, through Skybrary, an interactive digital library for educators, children, and families, they engage young readers and instill a reading culture.

🚀

What they’ve achieved:

Since their founding, Reading Is Fundamental has distributed more than 425 million books and impacted the lives of over 163 million children in the US and Puerto Rico. They have also worked with over 1 million volunteers, teachers, and advocates to improve children’s reading skills in over 22,000 vulnerable communities. In addition, their digital library hosts over 10,000 resources for teachers, parents, and community partners to help improve children’s literacy. 

Ways to contribute:

You can donate directly to Reading Is Fundamental through their website. You can also support them by starting a fundraiser or volunteering. In addition, you can partner with them to implement literacy solutions to promote a reading culture in the US.

2

Books for Africa: Working to End Book Famine in Africa

Logo for Books for Africa
(preview) Books For Africa: A Legacy of Literacy

🔎

Their transparency & ratings:

Books for Africa has a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator. They also hold the Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar.

“We believe that education is the great equalizer in the world, and books are at the foundation of a strong educational system. For many children in Africa, the gift of books truly is a gift of hope.”

Books for Africa

⚒️

What they do:

Books for Africa distributes books, computers, tablets with digital content, and other supplies to promote a reading culture among African children. They also provide donated books to equip rural school libraries, orphanages, and community resource centers to foster reading among African children. In addition, their Girls Empowerment Collections provide picture books and novels to improve girls’ reading skills at primary, secondary, and college levels in Africa. 

🚀

What they’ve achieved:

Since their inception, Books for Africa has delivered over 57 million books to promote reading among children in all 55 African countries. For example, in 2022, they shipped over 3.2 million books valued at nearly $27 million to foster reading in 27 African countries. They also delivered 355 computers and e-readers containing over 1 million digital books to encourage a reading culture across Africa.

Ways to contribute:

You can donate directly to Books for Africa through their website. You can also support them by donating new or gently used books for shipping to Africa. In addition, you can volunteer to work with their warehouses if you live in Georgia or Minnesota in the US.

3

Room to Read: Creating Life-Long Independent Readers

Logo for Room to Read
She Creates Change | Official Teaser | Room to Read Animated and Documentary Film Series

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Their transparency & ratings:

Room to Read has a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator. They also hold the Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar.

“Room to Read is creating a world free from illiteracy and gender inequality.”

Room to Read

⚒️

What they do:

Room to Read helps children acquire reading and language skills. For example, their Literacy Program ensures primary schools have libraries filled with books in the children’s local languages. They also train teachers and librarians to engage eager, young learners. Moreover, they create books and literary resources that children can enjoy in their local languages at different levels. In addition, they advocate for and partner with governments to scale effective reading and literacy initiatives at the national level.

🚀

What they’ve achieved:

Since their founding, Room to Read has helped over 32 million children and families worldwide develop reading skills. Over 28 million children have benefited from their literacy program. For example, they have distributed over 36 million books globally and published over 6,100 original and adapted children’s books. In addition, they have trained over 200,000 teachers and librarians in building children’s literacy skills.

Ways to contribute:

You can donate directly to Room to Read through their website. You can also support them by starting a fundraiser or joining a chapter of their global community.

4

Ferst Readers: A Child’s Path to a Brighter Future Is Paved With Books

Logo for Ferst Readers
Ferst Readers 2022

🔎

Their transparency & ratings:

Ferst Readers has a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator. They also hold the Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar.

“Our mission is strengthening communities by providing quality books and literacy resources for children and their families to use at home during the earliest stages of development.”

Ferst Readers

⚒️

What they do:

Ferst Readers encourages a passion for reading and early literacy skills by providing children with a home library. They work with experts in early childhood education, children’s literature, and family literacy to provide high-quality books to children. Children enrolled in the Ferst Readers program receive a new book every month for free until their 5th birthday. Ferst Readers also equips parents with resources to help their children develop early reading and literacy skills.

🚀

What they’ve achieved:

Since their establishment, Ferst Readers has delivered over 6.8 million books to encourage reading among young children in the US. Also, more than 300,000 children have participated in the Ferst Readers program. Nearly 142,000 children have graduated and started kindergarten with improved reading skills. For example, in 2020, over 60,000 children received books, and 9,882 new children were registered in their reading program.

Ways to contribute:

You can donate directly to Ferst Readers through their website. You can also support them by volunteering or starting a Ferst Program in your community. In addition, you can help more children access quality books by adopting a reader.

5

ProLiteracy: Teach an Adult to Read. Inspire the World to Change.

Logo for ProLiteracy
For my Daughter

🔎

Their transparency & ratings:

ProLiteracy has a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator. They also hold the Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar.

“We are the leading resource and champion for adult education and literacy worldwide.”

ProLiteracy

⚒️

What they do:

ProLiteracy helps adults gain literacy skills, including reading, writing, and basic math. They do this through the National Book Fund, which provides adult and teen literacy programs with educational materials to help teach them to read. They also run the Mobile Learning Fund, which supplies digital education materials to help adults learn to read. In addition, they support adult literacy programs in the US with grants for quality adult education materials to reach more adult learners and improve their reading skills.

🚀

What they’ve achieved:

Since their inception, ProLiteracy has worked with over 5,000 organizations in the US and 27 countries to help more adults read. For example, in 2022, they awarded over $830,000 in grants to support 200 adult literacy and educational programs. They also helped over 100,000 students improve their reading skills and trained nearly 6,000 tutors to provide basic education to adult learners.

Ways to contribute:

You can donate to ProLiteracy on their website. You can also contribute by volunteering or becoming an adult literacy advocate

6

Reach Out and Read: Integrating Reading Aloud Into Pediatric Care

Logo for Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy
30 Years of Reach Out and Read

🔎

Their transparency & ratings:

Reach Out And Read has a 3–star rating with Charity Navigator. They also hold a Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar.

“We believe all families should have the tools and information they need to make reading aloud a daily routine.”

Reach Out and Read

⚒️

What they do:

Reach Out And Read researches and raises awareness about the importance of reading aloud in pediatric care. They do this by delivering new, developmentally-appropriate books for children to help them build a home library. They also provide their families with resources to help them incorporate reading into their routines. Through their special initiatives program, they help families and medical caregivers of children with disabilities to make reading a fun part of their routine. 

🚀

What they’ve achieved:

Reach Out And Read is the only national pediatric literacy model endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics. They have improved the literacy skills of 4.2 million children annually by integrating reading aloud into pediatric care. The charity also has a network of pediatric providers, with over 33,000 pediatric clinicians trained to operate their literacy model.

Ways to contribute:

You can donate directly to Reach Out And Read through their website. You can also support them by donating books or organizing a book drive. In addition, you can volunteer as a book reader for children in your community.

7

Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy: Literacy Is the Key to Solving Everything

Breaking The Cycle of Illiteracy in America

🔎

Their transparency & ratings:

The Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy has a 3-star rating from Charity Navigator. They also hold the Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar.

“If we don’t give everyone the ability to simply read and write, then we aren’t giving everyone an equal chance to succeed.”

Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy

⚒️

What they do:

The Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy empowers children and parents to advance their reading and literacy skills by increasing access to literacy resources. They also create positive practices for adult and family literacy through their Book Explorers project, a reading program that encourages children and their caregivers to improve their reading skills together at home. Furthermore, their ReadSquad program pairs struggling young readers with teen mentors and provides at-home resources to increase literacy skills in children and their parents. 

🚀

What they’ve achieved:

Since their founding, the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy has provided over $110 million in programs for low-literate communities across all 50 states and DC. They have also established 1,600 ReadSquad programs in 18 states, providing more than 510,000 books to nearly 35,000 struggling readers. During the programs, 37,000 teen mentors volunteered 675,000 hours to help children and their parents improve their reading. Furthermore, in 2015, they designed the first mobile app that helps adults learn to read through digital resources.

Ways to contribute:

You can donate to the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy through their website. You can also contribute by sponsoring their fundraising events or making employee-matching gifts

8

Worldreader: Readers Build a Better World

Logo for Worldreader
Get children reading with Worldreader – A message from Donna Lowry

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Their transparency & ratings:

Worldreader has a 3-star rating from Charity Navigator. They also hold the Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar.

“We get children reading so they reach their potential.”

Worldreader

⚒️

What they do:

Worldreader equips families and caregivers to help children read at least 25 books a year by focusing on reading outside school. They do this through Book Smart, a mobile application available on all devices that helps children improve their reading comprehension. They also provide a digital library containing high-quality, age-appropriate books for children. Furthermore, they train and support caregivers to read to and with their children.

🚀

What they’ve achieved:

Since their inception, Worldreader has helped children spend over 128 million cumulative hours reading. They have provided over 75 million books to assist 21 million children in 100 countries to improve their reading skills. For example, in Sierra Leone, students completed 2,550 books and spent about 53 minutes reading daily. Also, in Atlanta, they provided parents with over 1,400 books to make reading accessible and fun for their children.

Ways to contribute:

You can donate to Worldreader directly through their website. You can also support them by sponsoring a book collection on their mobile app.

9

Everybody Wins DC: Helping Children Thrive Through Books and Reading

Logo for Everybody Wins DC
Everybody Wins DC

🔎

Their transparency & ratings:

Everybody Wins DC has a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator. They also hold a Gold Seal of Transparency from GuideStar.

“Everybody Wins DC believes that when children read or are read to, they can build the skills needed to thrive in the classroom and life.”

Everybody Wins DC

⚒️

What they do:

Everybody Wins DC helps students develop reading and social-emotional skills. For example, their Power Readers program is a one-on-one shared reading experience focused on helping students improve their reading and relational skills. Through StoryTime, they use stories read aloud to engage children’s minds and introduce them to diverse life experiences. In addition, their Book Project delivers new books, for free, to children and their families to help them build their home libraries. 

🚀

What they’ve achieved:

Since their establishment, Everybody Wins DC has used reading to engage and encourage children. For example, in the 2021-2022 school year, they encouraged reading among 7,749 students in 46 locations. They also partnered with 153 organizations and distributed 12,000 free books in DC.

Ways to contribute:

You can donate directly to Everybody Wins DC through their website. You can also support them by becoming a sponsor of their programs. In addition, you can join the Storytellers Society to impact children in the DC area through books significantly.

How Can You Select the Best Charities to Support?

The charities on the list are, we deem, the best charities for reading. However, you may have a particular charity you want to support. Let’s look at what you can do to ensure your contribution has the most significant impact.

  • Check out the charity website. Charities that are worthy of your donations are transparent in their mission and their figures. Familiarise yourself with their history, mission, and values. Their website usually is the best place to start.
  • Identify the charity’s mission. Without a goal, the charity is likely to fail. If the charity’s mission isn’t clear, it’s probably worth looking for a charity that does have a clear mission. 
  • Check if the charity has measurable goals. An effective charity has clear goals. You want to know your donation will help the charity reach its goals. But if it doesn’t have targets, it’s likely to fail or squander your gift. The charity should be able to account for its spending and supply evidence of the work they do.
  • Assess the successes or goals the charity has achieved. You wouldn’t invest in a business if it kept missing its targets. In the same way, charities are like this too. If no one is assessing a charity’s progress in reaching its targets, the chances are they’re not making a substantial positive change.
  • Check the charity’s financials and stats. Trustworthy organizations will publish financial statements and reports each year. Some might be exempt from having to do so, but they should be able to provide them to public members who are interested in donating.
  • Locate sources who work with or benefit from the charity. Word of mouth and first-hand experience of a charity’s work lets you know the charity’s quality. If you’re able to do so, check out the charity for yourself or speak to someone familiar with it. This way, your donation will go to the right place. 

How Can You Best Support These Charities?

After you’ve made your decision, it’s time for you to decide on how you’d like to help the charities you’ve chosen. Check how you can help – each charity runs specific programs that have unique aims. Find out what the aim of such programs is and whether they are right for you. 

Here are a few ways you can help your chosen charity:

  • Donate money. You can find donation pages on the website of most charities. Your donation can be a one-time payment, or you can set it to be deducted regularly at different intervals. You can mostly pay via credit card, but some charities also take PayPal or Bitcoin payments.
  • Buy their official merchandise. Charities can also raise money by selling merchandise. So, you can support them by buying the mugs, shirts, caps, pens, pencils, and any other such items they may be selling. Ideally, you should buy as much as you can to share and spread the word about the charity’s activities.
  • Engage in volunteer work. As you’ve seen from our descriptions above, some charities engage in a lot of local and grassroots programs. You can help by taking on and organizing the program in your local area.
  • Help their fundraising efforts. You can spread the word about the charity in your workplace, school, church, etc., and hold creative fundraising drives on social media or offline within your small circles.
  • Share their stories. Most charities have compelling stories that you can share with your audience to attract more people to the cause.

Final Thoughts

Now it is up to you to select the charity that resonates most with you. And whichever charity you end up choosing and contributing to, we are sure that they will immensely appreciate your support. Hopefully, the information within this article has made this selection process a bit easier for you to support charities dedicated to reading – based on the causes that matter most to you.

Stay impactful,

Illustration of a signature for Eniola

PS: Finally, I want to leave you with a thought-provoking TED talk from Dan Pallotta, a leading philanthropic activist and fundraiser, about what is wrong with the way we think about charities – and what we can do about it:

The way we think about charity is dead wrong | Dan Pallotta

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