Calgary Reads (An Early Literacy Initiative) Society

we serve these populations

  • children and youth

we need help with:

  • education
  • literacy
  • mental health

Requesting $100000


Description of Need

Right now, more than ever, our work on book access for the children and families that we serve — those furthest from opportunity is critical. The cancellation of our annual May 8-11 Big Book Sale (our most important fundraiser) significantly impacts our ability to operate our organization. Additionally, funds we were anticipating receiving from one other major event has also been cancelled and a second, scheduled for early July, has been cancelled.

The funds we urgently need will support our ability to maintain a small staff team and provide the resources for the following work. While our Children’s Reading Place is temporarily closed  our Book Bank is operational and busier than ever. We have several resources that we are adapting to support families and children. We are getting books to children and using social media and other technology to help parents support their children at home during this crisis. While we have already had to reduce staff, we are working hard to activate strategies to ensure all children have access to quality books and parents feel confident in supporting their children’s literacy development. We are working on developing new strategies to safely engage volunteers in helping us deliver books to homes and schools in communities of need and to encourage the community to safely donate children’s books. Schools are working with us to distribute these books to families. We continue to work with partner organizations to identify families who most need books and then get books to their homes. Additionally, we are working to increase our capacity to use technology to connect with our stakeholders in new ways. Funds will be directed to staff time, the purchase of books to supplement donations, book bags, printed material about reading and guidelines about screen time and other fun activities for families that will be included in each book bag.


Our Story – Why We Exist

By age 3, children from the wealthiest and poorest homes are separated by a 4-million word gap. Children without access to books and family reading time are at risk of entering kindergarten without school readiness. Worse yet, if a child doesn’t achieve grade-level reading by grade 3, it’s unlikely they’ll ever catch up to their peers.

Instead, they might experience:

●      low self-esteem

●      learning and school struggles

●      greater risk of physical and mental health challenges

●      greater risk of poverty


Here are some of the statistics driving the work of Calgary Reads:

●      25% of Canadian children grow up in a home without books

●      27% start school with literacy and developmental vulnerabilities

●      40% lack the literacy needed by age 15 to enjoy lifelong benefits

Our Impact – What We Do

By opening the door to a lifetime of reading, we put children on a path to success in school and in life, and help build a thriving community that values reading.

Our efforts:

●      increase the capacity of people to help children read with confidence and joy

●      increase access to literacy resources in the home and community

●      help parents and caregivers value the link between reading and success

●      engage families and communities to support a vibrant reading landscape

Our Programs – How We Do It

Calgary Reads actively promotes the importance of early literacy, and the creation of opportunities and environments where children can experience reading. By inspiring every home to be a home that reads, we can reach our goal of having every child experience the joy and confidence of reading by the time they enter the third grade.


Calgary Reads inspires and equips families to create meaningful reading rituals:

●      LENA Start: Parent classes that promote parent-child interaction and school readiness.

●      wee read: Free online programs that help caregivers develop and deepen their confidence as reading role models.

●      Book Bank: Gets books to families furthest from opportunity via food banks and agencies.

●      Read with Me: Gets books to young families at immunization points via public health nurses.


Little Red Reading House

Our heritage house is devoted to promoting a love of reading and early literacy.

●      Book ownership: Each child who visits the house takes home a free book, turning reluctant readers enthusiastic.

●      Experiences: Games, events, and house visits immerse guests in a culture of reading, and grow our community.

●      Learning: Virtual and in-person workshops help families bring reading alive at home.

●      Placemaking: Toolkits and collaborations help others create reading places in homes, schools, agencies, and businesses.


Our Requests – What You Can Do

Through our programs, Book Bank, community reading places and the Little Red Reading House, we are building a vibrant reading community and inspiring a love of reading in the home.

To deliver these mighty programs and help set children up for success in school and in life, we unite a diverse group of passionate supporters committed to helping more children experience the life-changing magic of reading. It takes a community to raise a reader, and we need your support!

Become one of our valued volunteers. Our volunteers are the driving force behind our initiatives and there are lots of opportunities to get involved. Please join us!

Partner with us

Our partnerships take many forms and everything we do relies on collaboration from groups or individuals who share our vision for a community where all children read with confidence and joy. We’d love to talk to you about partnering opportunities.

Give the gift of reading

We rely on the generous support of community and businesses to grow the high impact work that Calgary Reads does. Learn more about giving to Calgary Reads.


Are you a Calgary Foundation Fundholder?

Contact Info

Steacy Pinney Collyer

403 998 8418


More Info

Charity Number: #861127538RR0001

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Financial Statements / Annual Reports

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