People | April 5, 2024

Granting Children and Communities the Resources They Need to Succeed


To celebrate the announcement of our 2024 Let’s Get Children Reading Grant winners, we want to highlight the incredible efforts made by last year’s recipients.

Five children smiling

Often, getting children reading just requires someone to grant young readers the opportunities they need to thrive. That’s why for the second year in a row, we’re excited to run our Let’s Get Children Reading Grant. Together, we’re working to foster a love of reading for children ages 3 to 12 across the US.

Our participants across the US are excited to get children reading at least 25 unique books per year through this program. BookSmart allows our grantees and families everywhere to access high-quality books, engage in interactive activities, and celebrate their reading achievements.

Our grantees have demonstrated a commitment to promoting literacy and empowering families through innovative programming throughout their communities. By directly engaging with children and families, they create collaborative environments for young readers to thrive. To celebrate the announcement of our 2024 grantees, we want to highlight the incredible efforts made by last year’s recipients.

Genoa Elementary School

Summer Reading Challenge | Genoa, IL

Building up confidence when children are young is crucial. Alice, a 4th-grade student at Genoa Elementary School in Illinois, was always pushing herself to succeed and do her best. While she put in hard work, it was difficult for her when she made a mistake, especially since reading didn’t always come easy for Alice. Her confidence could be shaken when being asked to read aloud in class. That’s where the elementary school’s principal stepped in.

At the end of last school year, the school issued a summer reading challenge through BookSmart for students going into 4th and 5th grade. When the students came back, the principal and Alice’s teacher were blown away by Alice’s success in the program. She read every book on the list out loud to her mother to improve not only her reading skills but also her ability to read out loud in the classroom. She was absolutely determined to come to school this year as a 4th-grade student who had no issues with reading.

“I couldn’t believe how much faster I got at reading out loud, and even my mom said how much better I was getting. I will offer to be the person to read out loud now, I’m not scared to do it anymore.”

Alice, 4th-grade student at Genoa Elementary School

HeartBound Ministries

The Next Door Transitional Center | Antioch, TN

Being incarcerated puts limits on many important parts of life, including spending time with your family. Aftan, mother to three children, ages 3, 12, and 13, is reaching out to her young readers from beyond the bars. With the help of Little Readers program at The Next Door Transitional Center in Tennessee, she recorded her reading a story from BookSmart.


HeartBound Ministries, our grant recipient, was then able to send her children the video of her reading and information about BookSmart. As a mom, Aftan finds BookSmart to be a great tool for families because not everyone can afford books. She thinks the digital library is important to younger generations, especially because of their increased time spent online.

“It’s literally like the coolest thing I have ever heard of,” Aftan says, stating that she believes that Worldreader will have a huge impact on her family, including her younger son as he learns to read. Having access to so many digital books has Aftan excited about the future.

Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago

I am a Reader | Lower West Side Chicago, IL

After-school reading programs provide children with opportunities to grow as students and as young people as they learn and spend time with others. One of these inspiring projects is the Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago services during the I Am A Reader program.

The regular group of 15 children that the program supports each week receive extra literacy teaching to build grade-level reading. I Am A Reader and BookSmart work to reshape the community’s view of reading and to help children take ownership of their growth and learning.

BookSmart began as a weekly event in the program with adults modeling how to use the app and read books. It then started to shape the rest of their instruction plans and interpersonal goals – the students read the story Be A Bridge, connecting it to their own experiences and sharing what their idea of “being a bridge” meant.

“BookSmart has been such a positive influence on our readers,” shares Kiersten Smith, the Early Literacy Manager of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago. The young readers can find books that align with their interests and often read with their peers and build relationships. The program sends “Book of the Day” pages home with the title of a book and the QR code for readers to share with their families. BookSmart is used at four of their Legacy sites and is currently being pushed out to school-based sites and readers in surrounding communities.

➤ Are you a reading champion? By supporting our work, you’ll get children and families reading everywhere.

➤ Are you a teacher in the US? Partner with us and discover how to use innovative, low-cost technology, and world-changing reading programs to empower your students at home and in the classroom.

➤ Are you a reader? Sign up for our newsletter to receive a world of wonder directly in your inbox. Interested in our work in the US? Sign up for our Worldreader US newsletter.