Reading proficiency by third grade is the most important predictor of high school graduation and career success. Our work contributes to a future where all children reach third grade with the skills and passion to read.

Research shows two major obstacles to improving student performance: a lack of high-quality, differentiated literacy instruction and insufficient reading materials matched to students’ reading levels.  In Philadelphia, this is compounded by the fact that many children start kindergarten already behind, facing limitations in access to high-quality early learning and in parents’ capacity to support early literacy.

We partner with projects that strengthen literacy skills, which will foster a positive transition into fourth grade.


Our Goal

The Lenfest Foundation seeks to provide financial support to organizations working to build a network of high-quality learning options throughout the city, to increase the percentage of children reading on grade level by third grade.

To that end, the foundation seeks to support projects that aim to:

  • Increase the number of children in high-quality pre-K learning experiences
  • Ensure a seamless transition from pre-K to kindergarten
  • Increase access to quality reading materials within schools or programs, or at home
  • Increase the capacity of practitioners to improve literacy instruction

Specifically, the foundation is excited to support early learning initiatives that focus on:

  • Strategies associated with identified citywide campaigns
  • Early literacy efforts within place-based strategies

Details about the application process are available here



Photo: Mayor's Office of Education