Project READ

Would it surprise you to learn that 61% of inner city homes have no books or reading materials of any kind? Or that there are several adults in our area who may struggle to read this very article?



Dayton Parent spoke with Holly Elkins-Lopez, Education Programs, and Outreach Coordinator, to learn how Project READ is meeting literacy needs throughout our community.

What is Project READ?

Project READ is a coalition of over 100 literacy organizations, schools and businesses working together to build skilled workers, strong families and healthy communities through lifelong literacy. We have several programs in place to help youth, as well as adults, receive the literacy help they need. Project READ offers a stepping-stone to greater educational and economic opportunities.

In your opinion, what are the greatest literacy needs in our area?

During the 2016-2017 school year, nearly 20% of third graders in the Dayton Public Schools did not meet the reading standard for Ohio’s “third grade reading guarantee.” This poor outcome earned Dayton Public Schools a D in K-3 Literacy on the Ohio Department of Education Report Card.

However, Dayton Public Schools are not alone. Twelve out of 17 Montgomery County school districts received a C or D in K-3 Literacy on the 2016-2017 Ohio Department of Education Report Card.

Furthermore, there are over 63,000 adults locally (over the age of 25) struggling with tasks such as reading short, simple texts, filling out a job application, understanding a prescription bottle or deciphering a bus schedule.

What programs does Project READ provide to the community?

Project READ Helpline—connects adult learners to free reading, GED, high school completion and English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) classes.

Adult Literacy Tutoring Program—trained literacy tutors work to help beginner level adult learners, adults studying for their GED (or a high school completion diploma), and ESOL learners. Tutoring is usually one-on-one in a public setting or as a classroom aide in adult education classrooms.

Youth Literacy Tutoring Program—trained literacy tutors work with youth learners in kindergarten through 8th grade to help with their reading and language skills.  Tutoring takes place at Project READ partner schools.

Book Distribution Project—Project READ is able to donate new or gently used books to children and families in need. Each year, nearly 10,000 books go out into the community through this project.

How can community members help?

We are always looking for volunteers to be literacy tutors for both youth and adult learners. Training is provided and includes topics such as an overview of literacy, key skills to literacy development, strategies for learning and effective tutoring practices.

Volunteers are also needed to work in Project READ’s partner bookstore. The store is located in Centerville and volunteers work in three-hour shifts to sort and scan books, as well as maintain stock in the bookstore.

During the summer, Project READ holds an annual “Concert for Literacy” at the Fraze Pavilion in Kettering. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 the day of the show and community members are encouraged to attend to support our mission.

Because we rely on grants and individual gifts for financial support, monetary donations are always welcome. We also appreciate any book donations so that we may provide them to those in need.

To learn more about Project READ or to get involved, visit


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