A selective list of literacy charities & programs

In Port Morsby, Papua New Guinea, children are seen at Buk bilong Pikinini (Books for Children), an independent not-for-profit organisation that aims to establish children’s libraries and foster a love of reading and learning.

Literacy and access to information have been shown to reduce poverty, providing opportunities for work, increasing household income, even improving the health of children. A child born to a mother who can read is 50% more likely to survive past the age of five.

At a time when literacy and education are under threat from the new U.S. administration, and people are looking to donate to causes that matter to them, Glossophilia offers a selective list of charities devoted to improving literacy and promoting a love of reading. Please feel free to add links to other notable organizations supporting literacy, and please donate what you can to this important global cause.

Alfalit: offers programs in literacy, basic education, early childhood development/preschool, health, nutrition, job and skills training and community development to the poorest in 24 countries throughout Africa, Latin America, Europe and the United States. Alfalit reaches very poor and remote areas and provides high quality, cost-effective education with compassion and respect for the people we teach.

African Library Project: The African Library Project coordinates book drives in the United States and partners with African schools and villages to start small libraries.

Book Aid International: In places where books are scarce libraries are often the best places for people to discover the joy of reading. By supporting libraries we can provide access to books for millions of people each year. We supply brand new books, donated by publishers, to public, community and school libraries across Africa. By partnering with national library services, government departments and NGOs we are able to send up to one million brand new, carefully selected books to Africa each year.

The Book Bus: was founded by publisher Tom Maschler with the aim of supplying books and making them accessible to children to help get more children reading and therefore be able to make more choices about their own lives. In 2008 the Book Bus began delivering books to schools in Zambia and working with children to inspire them to read. Ten years on and we have opened reading schemes in Zambia, Malawi, and Ecuador where over 100,000 children now have books that are relevant and accessible to read.

Books Abroad:  promotes literacy, education and understanding, which provide the means of a sustainable escape route from the plight of poverty. We recycle used books by sending them to schools and other institutions in developing countries.

Family Reading Partnership: We are a broad-based, locally grown coalition of individuals, businesses, schools, libraries and other organizations. We have joined forces to “create a culture of literacy” by promoting family reading practices throughout our community.

First Book: First Book is a nonprofit social enterprise that provides new books, learning materials, and other essentials to children in need. Since our founding in 1992, First Book has distributed more than 160 million books and educational resources to programs and schools serving children from low-income families.

International Literary Association: is a global advocacy organization, and literacy is our cause, our passion, and our reason for being. We publish cutting-edge research on literacy, and we translate this research into practical resources for educators, students, and leaders involved in spreading literacy all across the world. Armed with a deep understanding of the history of reading and literacy research, we advocate for teachers’ and students’ needs and set the standards for how literacy is taught and evaluated.

The Library Project: donates libraries to improve children’s literacy. Children gain access to a beautiful school library providing fun and interesting children’s books that spark their imaginations and promote a lifelong love of reading.

Literacy Inc: Literacy Inc. is a non-profit organization with a mission of reducing illiteracy amongst America’s teens. We use motivational speeches, free books, and various other incentives to help generate excitement around reading.

Little Free Library: Our mission is to inspire readers, build community, and spark creativity by fostering neighborhood book exchanges around the world. Through Little Free Libraries, millions of books are exchanged year, profoundly increasing access to books for readers of all ages and backgrounds.

LitWorld: We implement on-the-ground innovative solutions to the hard-to-tackle challenge of illiteracy worldwide. The combined power of children’s own stories + access to diverse reading/writing experiences + peer to peer and adult mentor relationships = productive and transformational literacy

Milk + Bookies: So how does Milk+Bookies foster literacy and service learning? By providing all of the tools, resources, support and instruction required for anyone to host their own Milk+Bookies parties. At these “book-raisers,” children are invited to choose, inscribe and donate books to their local peers in need and want of appropriate reading material.

Pencils of Promise: We create schools, programs and global communities around the common goal of education for all. 100% of online donations go to PoP programs.

Project Night Night: Our mission is to provide free Night Night Packages to homeless children from birth to pre-teen who need our childhood essentials to have a concrete and predictable source of security and increased exposure to high-quality literacy materials during this time of upheaval.

ProLiteracy: ProLiteracy advocates for adult literacy initiatives on behalf of our member network. We provide a strong collective voice to increase awareness of adult literacy challenges, influence public policy, and create change.

Reading Is Fundamental: RIF is the leading champion for children’s literacy through meaningful research, quality content and equal access to impact all kids with the power of reading. Since 1966, RIF has distributed more than 412 million books to 40 million children nationwide [U.S.], improving their ability to read, learn and grow.

Room to Read: Room to Read seeks to transform the lives of millions of children in developing countries by focusing on literacy and gender equality in education. Working in collaboration with local communities, partner organizations and governments, we develop literacy skills and a habit of reading among primary school children, and support girls to complete secondary school with the relevant life skills to succeed in school and beyond.

WaterBridge: To give children in developing communities hope for the future through nourishing their minds and bodies with books and water.

World Literacy Foundation: In our globalised world, close to 20% of the population is illiterate. The World Literacy Foundation was founded to help eradicate this staggering statistic through the promotion of literacy and education, and the provision of learning resources and teaching materials.

Women’s Prison Book Project: Since 1994, the Women’s Prison Book Project (WPBP) has provided women and transgender persons in prison with free reading materials covering a wide range of topics from law and education (dictionaries, GED, etc.) to fiction, politics, history, and women’s health.

Worldreader: Creating a Literate World. Literacy is transformative: it increases earning potential, decreases inequality, improves health outcomes and breaks the cycle of poverty (UNESCO). Yet there are 740 million illiterate people in this world and 250 million children of primary school age who lack basic reading and writing skills (UNESCO). Books are necessary for the development of these skills, and still 40% of schools in Africa have few or no textbooks at all (SACMEQ II). Worldreader is on a mission to create a world where everyone is a reader.

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