Who We Are
Ready Readers is a St. Louis-based nonprofit organization dedicated to inspiring preschool age children from low-income communities to LOVE books and to have the emergent literacy skills necessary to become readers when they enter kindergarten.
Trained, passionate volunteers read high-quality books aloud to the same classroom of children for 30 minutes every week, and then provide stimulating reading-related activities. Six times during each school year and once during the summer, the volunteer readers also distribute new books for each child to take home and keep.
Ready Readers inspires preschool-age children from low-income communities to become readers by reading aloud to them, increasing their exposure to quality books, and providing literacy-related experiences.
History of Ready Readers
Ready Readers began in September of 1997 when Pat Simons, Founder and retired Executive Director, and three other St. Louisans organized to help prevent, rather than remediate, reading problems among children living in poverty. Pat designed a program to excite preschool children about the world of books, so that they would want to read when they were developmentally ready. In 1999, Pat formed an independent Missouri nonprofit corporation named Ready Readers and established a Board of Directors. Ready Readers received tax-exempt 501(c)(3) status in June of 1999.
During Pat’s tenure, the program grew to reach more than 6,000 children and the program model was established. On April 1, 2009, Pat retired as Executive Director of Ready Readers. Lisa Greening was hired as the new Executive Director to continue to grow the organization. For the 2012-2013 school year, Ready Readers has trained, placed, and supervised more than 550 volunteers who read weekly to more than 8,000 preschool children from low-income communities attending early childhood programs, and volunteer readers will distribute more than 58,000 high-quality, new books for the children to take home for further enjoyment.
Our Goals and Objectives:
To place, train, and provide ongoing support for volunteer readers in order to ensure their commitment, enthusiasm, preparation, and effectiveness.
To provide each child with at least six new, high-quality books each school year for further enjoyment at home.
To give each classroom copies of the same books that the children receive. Teachers are provided with extension activities and opportunities for their professional development based on using the books with their children.
To enhance literacy skills of the children by training volunteers and teachers in best practices in reading aloud and providing literacy experiences.
To foster positive relationships between the children and their volunteer readers who are committed to reading aloud to the same class every week for at least a semester.To give new or gently used books to classrooms throughout the year, thus providing children with further access to books in their classroom libraries.
We meet all criteria of the Better Business Bureau and hold its seal as an approved charity. We are certified by the United Way as an accredited volunteer agency.
Watch this short video to learn more about the Ready Readers program-