Gordon Philanthropies believes that reading is a human right. Our focus is to put free books in the hands of students whose familial financial circumstances may not afford them the ability to purchase books. Our goal is to support the reading growth of students in underserved communities. We know that COVID-19 disrupted our young people’s learning across the nation. Still, in historically underserved communities, the impact was deeply felt by children who could not access computers for online learning or without a private study area to fully concentrate without background noise.
Our reading program, Communities That Read Together, Grow Together, stems from the need to meet our students and families living in zip codes identified by the majority living below the federal poverty line. For many families who have been part of the reading program, this is the first-time reading has become a central theme as a family—where the sound of pages turning is now a familiar sound and where they encourage each other to read. The reading program provides free books to each family member. Our core objective is to promote the love of reading.
Based on research, we know that providing books and empowering students to choose their books will increase reading and comprehension skills. We’re gauging program success by evaluating a metric comparing the student’s Lexile scores in a 12-month span, if the score increased, and by how much. It is important that our foundation develops relationships with the families and that the families choose to stay in the reading program as their children go through their schooling. We want them to see their children graduate from high school and hopefully go to college. Having a lasting impact is essential for our mission, and this is why developing these ongoing relationships is considered a top goal to support our mission and vision.