Help Philadelphia Reads when you are buying books or anything else at Amazon. Click here to shop Amazon and Philadelphia Reads receives a portion of your purchase.
City of Philadelphia

Frequently Asked Questions


What is a Reading Coach?

A reading coach is someone who works to advance a child's reading level. All reading coaches work under the supervision of either a teacher or a program director. It is important to remember that reading coaches are not used as pseudo-teachers or counselors. Reading coaches are "coaches" who support and encourage a child in reading pursuits. Reading coaches work one-on-one with a child. Coaching sessions take place in common areas that allow for concentration. Reading coaches are never left alone with a child.


Will I really be making a difference?

YES! Research has shown that low-achieving readers who participate in programs that involve only one additional hour of reading daily may gain 2 ? years in reading levels in one school year. Furthermore, many social service programs heavily rely on your volunteer efforts to maintain programs, appropriate adult child ratios, one-on-one and small group interaction, participation in educational and social outings, and overhead costs. This allows for funds to be directly utilized for children and youth. In short, YOU are an invaluable and irreplaceable asset.


Who can become a Reading Coach?

We have all different types of people working in the community as reading coaches. People working as reading coaches include: college and university students; adults; seniors; and high school students. Children under the age of 15 may participate if a parent or caregiver is also doing the program. Additionally, all reading coaches must be dedicated and consistent.


What kind of commitment is involved?

Volunteerism is not to be taken lightly especially when you are working with children. Children look forward and depend upon your consistency and follow through. If you are committed and dependable you will make a difference in the child's literacy skills as well as the child's life. Your commitment says to a child that someone cares and when a child realizes that a whole new world opens for them.


Minimally, we require a one hour per week commitment for a three month time period. However, you can volunteer more hours and days at your convenience. The more time you commit, the more impact you will make. No matter how many hours you volunteer, it is imperative that you remain committed to that day and time. We suggest that you write your schedule in your appointment book every week; that way you never forget or schedule something in its place.

What will I be doing as a Reading Coach? 

As a PHILADELPHIA READS' trained reading coach, you will work with an elementary school aged child (first ? third grade) on his or her reading and writing skills.


Who will I be helping?

Reading coaches work with children in grades first through third of various social, ethnic and economic backgrounds.


Am I qualified to be a Reading Coach?

You do not have to be highly educated or a teacher ? you do have to attend a one-and-a-half hour PHILADELPHIA READS training. Trainings are done by an educator who is a children's literacy or language arts specialist. At the training, you will learn the different tips, techniques and skills necessary to advance children's reading levels while maintaining enthusiasm and interest. (Included in this packet is a list of training dates).


Do you offer additional trainings?

Throughout the year, we provide supplement trainings on various topics such as structuring your session, behavior issues, understanding a child's educational development, etc. These additional trainings expand upon topics covered in your initial training and enhance your coaching sessions. It is our goal that the trainings provide our reading coaches with the confidence, skills, and information needed to be effective.


Where will I be assigned?

YOU get to choose your site. At the training we will provide you with a list of organizations that need volunteers. These organizations include schools, community organizations, and faith-based organizations that are located throughout Philadelphia. We can coordinate volunteer opportunities at locations not listed but that are of a special interest to you.


How does the placement process work?

Placement, which can take between 7-14 days, is done by the PHILADELPHIA READS staff to ensure a smooth transition. Once you have been placed at a site, you will receive a notification letter with your supervisors contact information on it. Call your supervisor and set up a meeting. This meeting is a time for you to make sure that you feel comfortable at the site.


What are Criminal and Child Abuse Forms?

Most volunteer placements require a child abuse clearance and criminal clearance. It is simply a means to ensure that those who pose a threat to the health and safety of our children and youth are not allowed undo influence. Volunteers interested in being a reading coach should fill out the clearance forms and mail them in as soon as possible. This should be done before you attend a PHILADELPHIA READS training session. Your placement process will not begin until you have received your clearances. Each of the two forms requires a $10.00 processing fee that the volunteer is responsible for. To obtain your criminal clearance application click here.  To obtain your child abuse history clearance application click here.