The Right Books Campaign

The Right Books Campaign focuses on righting a wrong for our youngest readers with a proven solution in the works.

Only half of 8-year-olds attending Philadelphia public schools are reading at or above grade level. That's wrong.

To ensure all our children reach this level by the time they reach the fourth grade, the School District is providing K-3 classrooms with Literacy PLUS training for teachers and Select Libraries—expert-curated books and resources.

But currently, there is only enough money to cover about half the Select Libraries, each of which costs $5,000.

We're almost there,
but we need your help.

The District needs to raise an additional $3.5 million in matching funds to make sure all students have access to the right kinds of reading resources, helping to ensure more than 48,000 students have what they need, in their classrooms, to read at grade level by the fourth grade and setting them up to succeed in school and in life.

You can be part of an unprecedented effort to make sure this happens. An effort that is bringing together an unusually large and broad coalition, including the School District, the William Penn and Lenfest Foundations, READ! by 4th, the Children’s Literacy Initiative, parents and thousands of other citizens who care.

William Penn Foundation has already invested $6 million and Lenfest Foundation, $4.5 million. Your investment can help us raise the remaining $3.5 million.

What You Need to Know:
A Quick Primer on the Right Books Campaign

There's a deep connection
between poverty and (not) reading.

Nearly nine out of every ten of our 48,000 children currently enrolled in kindergarten through third grade are economically disadvantaged.

This means too few of our District students have any books—let alone the right books.

That’s why we have public schools—to be the great equalizers.

Let's not give up on them.

Our teachers have their hands full.

Up to 30 students in a classroom.

Up to 26 different reading levels represented.

Up to 4 different learning styles.

1 teacher to somehow figure it all out.

Our teachers need to be superhuman.

Let's help them.

One of the worst things you can do
for kids struggling with reading...

Give them a book not matched to their reading level or learning style, and they’ll think they don’t have what it takes to be good readers. Conversely, even a single, brief exposure to quality material can significantly boost a student’s interest in reading.

The right books at the right time build confidence.

Let's make sure our kids get them.

Our Simple, but Smart Solution
Get teachers the training and support they need, and students the right books.

The right books, in the right hands, at the right time can change worlds.  Together, we can make sure our students have it all.

William R. Hite, Jr., Ed.D.

Superintendent, the School District of Philadelphia

What do we mean by the right books?

Books that fit students’ reading levels and learning styles. Sounds easy, but it takes expertise to curate the collection of carefully selected books and resources for every K-3 District classroom that can match up to 26 different reading levels while supporting up to four different learning styles. Exactly what’s already being done to create Select Classroom Libraries.

What do we mean by the right time?

Select Libraries will be placed only in classrooms led by teachers who have completed Literacy PLUS specialist training. As Literacy PLUS specialists, teachers tailor individualized reading programs to match students’ varying reading levels and learning styles, while managing multiple, simultaneous reading activities. The results of this perfect timing? Kids learn how to read with confidence.

Five More Reasons
to Contribute to the Right Books Campaign


Real urgency. Students who don’t read at grade level by 4th grade are more likely than their peers who do to struggle with reading proficiency and behavioral issues throughout their schooling. They are also four times less likely to graduate from high school and significantly unlikely to ever attend college.


Be counted. No matter how small (or big) your contribution, you will be listed as a Right Books Campaign supporter. We believe that a community challenge requires a community response.


Your contribution is worth twice as much. By contributing to the Right Books Campaign, you’re helping us leverage other resources, specifically a one-to-one dollar match from private foundations.


Total transparency. The Fund will tell you exactly how your donation is spent.


Leave a legacy worthy of your or a loved one’s name.Donate $5,000—the cost of a single Select Classroom Library, and we can give it a sponsorship name of your choosing.