The Issue


Early grade reading success is a critical component of learning and a leading indicator of future academic and educational success. 43% of Berks County third graders are reading below grade level. That means that over 1,900 children in our community - urban, rural and suburban schools - are four times more likely to drop out of school and 13 times more likely to drop out if they live in poverty. They are less likely to develop skills essential for contributing to the 21st Century economy and less likely to be effective citizens.


Our Response

Ready.Set.READ! is a community-wide initiative that brings together schools, businesses, organizations and individuals to improve early grade reading success.   

Our Mission:  Develop and implement a comprehensive and collaborative system of support throughout Berks County that will ensure reading

proficiency for students by the end of third grade.

Our Goal:  To have 90% of third-graders in Berks County reading on grade level by 2023, as measured by the third grade PSSA exam.

Our Strategies:  Ready.Set.READ! has identified five overriding strategies to implement in its efforts to fulfill the mission and achieve our goal.

1. Infrastructure
2. Birth to Pre-Kindergarten Children
3. School Age Students
4. Parent & Family
5. Community Engagement

Our Plan:

  • provide support to students who are struggling to be proficient readers
  • promote language and pre-literacy development in younger children
  • empower parents and caregivers to help their children read, learn and develop
  • mobilize the community to take action to improve early grade reading success

Our Guiding Principles


  • All children can learn and succeed
  • Parents and/or primary caregivers are the first and most important teachers of their children
  • Our children's success depends on a focused, collaborative effort by parents, schools, universities/colleges, government, non-profit agencies, faith-based groups and public and private businesses
  • Early literacy development is critical to lifelong learning, success and personal fulfillment


Our Board of Directors


The work of Ready.Set.READ! is guided by a volunteer Board of Directors.  Learn more about the wide cross-section of community leaders who are leading the charge to improve early grade reading success in Berks County.

Our Progress


2016 Progress Report

2015 Progress Report

2014 Progress Report

2013 Progress Report