Senator Hughes (D-Philadelphia/Montgomery County), along with Senator Art Haywood (D-Philadelphia/Montgomery County), Senator Sharif Street (D-Philadelphia), Councilman Kenyatta Johnson (D-Philadelphia) and community partners, came together to celebrate the largest enrollment to date of their intensive summer reading program, Summer Reads: Read to Succeed.


This year’s reading program boasts an enrollment of nearly 500 students entering the first through third grades. 

“I couldn’t be prouder of how this event has grown,” said Sen. Hughes, who founded the event in 2012 with an enrollment of just over 30 students. “The dedication of my staff, co-sponsors, and community partners to come together and provide an intensive, yet fun program for these young students at such a critical moment in their development is simply amazing.”

“Young people don’t have a lobbyist,” Sen. Hughes said. They don’t have a suit and tie running around the capitol to represent their interests. All they have is us and we’ve chosen that responsibility.”

Eleven schools across the city hosted this year’s program, which serves a diverse group of families in need of summer activities.

“Reading is the foundation for more opportunities, and I’m glad we could participate with Senator Hughes to assist about 120 children and families,” said Sen. Haywood, who represents Pennsylvania’s 4th district.

“I am proud to collaborate with Senators Hughes and Haywood in presenting Summer Reads: Read to Succeed Program,” said Sen. Street, whose 4th district is the home to two schools in the program.

“It is well known that by the age of three, a 30-million-word gap develops between children from the wealthiest and less fortunate families. This program helps to bridge that gap by enhancing our children’s vocabulary and reading skills which strengthen families and increases the viability of our communities.”

In addition to the elementary students, the program also provides a job opportunity to 36 college students who are interested in teaching and community engagement.

“We are proud to partner with Senator Hughes and Philadelphia educators to provide this important transitional opportunity for both the very young and those in college,” said H. Patrick Clancy, President and CEO of Philadelphia Works. “It is proven that summer work experiences for young people form the foundation of future success in the workforce. By giving college students a chance to mentor school-age children through a rigorous summer reading program, we are effectively doubling the impact of our investment in the community.”

John Barber III, speaking on behalf of the The Fund for the School District of Philadelphia, announced a continued donation of $10,000 to further support the program’s efforts for years to come.

“Investing in the Summer Reads: Read to Succeed program is a no brainer,” said Barber. “We have a responsibility to make sure young people are prepared for the future and reading is a fundamental part of that preparation.”

The Summer Reads: Read to Succeed program serves 11 different locations across the city. The nearly 500 students receive free breakfast, lunch, in addition to a free eye exam from Will Eye Health and two pairs of glasses if needed. The program is supported by volunteer teachers, parents and administrative staff.

By Haywood Brewster