Who We Are
Ready Readers is a St. Louis-based nonprofit organization dedicated to inspiring preschool children from low-income communities to become readers.
Trained, passionate volunteers read aloud high-quality books to the same classrom 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.
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 2011-2012 school year, Ready Readers has trained, placed, and supervised more than 550 volunteers who read weekly to more than 7,800 preschool children from low-income communities attending early childhood programs, and volunteer readers will distribute more than 53,000 high-quality, new books for the children to take home for further enjoyment.
In spring 2009, Ready Readers became a Social Venture Partner with the Regional Business Council, became a finalist for PNC’s “Dollars Making a Difference” campaign, and was nominated for a Torch award from the Better Business Bureau. In September 2009, Ready Readers was a finalist for the 2009 Georgia Frontiere Community Quarterback Award and received a volunteer service award from Youth in Need. In April 2009, Ready Readers received the St. Louis Public Schools’ Volunteer of the Year Award.
In 2008, Ready Readers was a finalist for the Ladue News Charity of the Year. In 2007, Ready Readers received a Children’s Champion Award for Volunteerism from Vision for Children at Risk, as well as Grace Hill’s Outstanding Volunteer Organization award and a 2007 special recognition from KMOV TV in its Angels 4 Series. In 2006, we received the Outstanding Volunteer Organization award from the YWCA Head Start. We also received the 2001 FOCUS St. Louis Leadership Award for providing quality educational opportunities to our region.
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.