A love of reading is one of the greatest gifts you can give a child. Because it impacts them for a lifetime. Studies confirm when a child is read to, not only his reading improves—so does his interest in other subjects. Not to mention his or her confidence, social skills, vocabulary, behavior in class, the list goes on.

A 2013 report by the Annie E. Casey Foundation found that, nationwide, “80% of fourth graders from low-income families are not proficient in reading.” The National Research Council report, Preventing Reading Difficulties in Young Children, found that “students who, by the end of third grade, are not moderately skilled readers are unlikely to graduate from high school.” Fortunately, prevention just takes some planning. The National Institute of Education’s Commission on Reading identified the single most important activity for building knowledge required for the eventual success in reading is reading aloud to children.

Though many organizations exist that focus on mentoring or literacy, there are far fewer that offer both within the same program. Our model is based on the premise that literacy and mentoring are mutually reinforcing, together providing far greater impact than if provided separately. We also distinguish ourselves from other similar organizations in one or more of the following ways: a focus on instilling a lifetime love of reading rather than tutoring, providing a one-on-one rather than a group read-aloud experience, allowing for the possibility to remain matched with the same student for multiple years, not taking students away from instructional time, and offering extra measures of flexibility for busy professional volunteers.