Digital Reading | November 9, 2020

Worldreader Launches the Keep Children Reading Program in the United States


Educational nonprofit brings 10 years’ experience from the Global South to support vulnerable children in the US during Covid-19 school disruptions and beyond.

10 November 2020 – San Francisco, California.  San Francisco-based educational nonprofit Worldreader is bringing its Keep Children Reading program to the United States for the first time. Drawing on 10 years of experience working around the world, the organization will provide digital books, learning activities, and reader engagement to thousands of children in the U.S. during Covid-19 school disruptions and beyond.

Covid-19 has caused historic disruptions to education, affecting over 50 million students in more than 100,000 US public and private schools(1). This leaves economically disadvantaged children across the U.S. at risk for acute learning loss, which can negatively affect their progress in school and later success in life.

Drawing on a decade of experience developing programming and technology for low-resource communities across the Global South, Worldreader is uniquely positioned to bridge this digital divide in the U.S. and offer supplemental distance learning that works.

“Worldreader’s Keep Children Reading program is an easy way to keep kids reading and learning during this crisis,“ said David Risher, Worldreader’s co-founder and CEO. “We’re bringing together all we’ve learned over a decade – great digital books from around the world, activities that support reading and social-emotional learning, and an easy-to-use app that works on the phones families already have – to support kids and their families. There’s never been a more important time to help vulnerable children in our own backyard.”

By partnering with Raising A Reader, Reading Partners, and World Vision – Worldreader aims to support at least 50,000 elementary-aged students. The program begins later this academic year in communities from California, Washington, and Texas to Oklahoma, West Virginia, Illinois, Massachusetts, and New York before expanding nationwide in 2022 and beyond.

“Through the Keeping Children Reading Program, World Vision’s United States Programs will provide access to high-quality reading materials for children in some of the nation’s most marginalized communities. The launch of this program is critical for the children and families that World Vision serves as learning and development has been disrupted. Our partnership with Worldreader aligns with World Vision’s core mission of serving vulnerable children and their families throughout the world, said  Reed Slattery, National Director, World Vision US Programs.

“Keep Children Reading is a program that will help give families more of the critical literacy tools they need at home amid ongoing school disruptions to support their children as developing readers,” said Adeola Whitney, CEO of Reading Partners. “With the digital library, families will have access to hundreds of quality storybooks from around the world.”

“Keep Children Reading adds a valuable digital component to Raising A Reader’s work in supporting school readiness in the youngest readers with quality storybooks and learning activities that support language development,” said Michelle Torgerson, President and CEO of Raising A Reader.

With Keep Children Reading, children in underserved communities will build their reading skills, learn about other cultures, and develop emotionally during this pandemic – setting them up for success in school and life.

Worldreader is raising funds to support and expand the program to reach more children. To support this effort, contact or visit

Keep Children Reading Program Details:

  • A 40-week academic-year reading program for children in grades PreK–5th, delivered by community-based organizations
  • The program features a weekly book plus three 10-minute learning activities that parents and children can complete together
  • The high-quality children’s library features books in English and Spanish from around the world, including books that support social-emotional learning, address race and inclusivity, educate on health and wellness (including coronavirus), and support literacy and numeracy skills
  • Available through BookSmart, a purpose-built app, that’s simple, fast, and works on any mobile phone, addressing the digital divide



About Worldreader

Worldreader believes that readers build a better world. A nonprofit with a low-cost, high-tech approach, Worldreader combines 21st-century technology, culturally-relevant digital books, and supportive programming to improve learning outcomes, workforce readiness, and gender equity in vulnerable communities around the world. Since 2010, Worldreader and its partners have distributed over 53 million digital books to more than 15 million children and young adults.  Worldreader is always looking for partners to reach millions more.

Media Contact

Melanie Wise
Sr. Director, Global Marketing & Communications