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The Best Literacy Charities

Inspire a future reader with these book-smart causes.

November 2016

Literacy can be the key to a brighter future. This holiday season, why not give the gift the reading? These high-performing literacy charities are changing the world, one reader at a time. And you can help in any number of ways—one-time gifts, annual memberships, stock donations, supply purchases and more. Whether you’re giving a gift in honor of a friend, or making a donation to celebrate your family’s values, these charities can make a difference with your support.

ProLiteracy Worldwide

This organization believes that literacy can change lives, and that promoting adult literacy can benefit our entire society. Learning to read allows adults to lift themselves from poverty with better employment opportunities, improved capability to navigate health care costs, and the chance to teach their own children to read. The largest adult literacy organization in the nation, ProLiteracy offers educational opportunities to adult learners for basic skills in reading, math and computers.

Room to Read

Nearly 800 million people are illiterate worldwide—and two-thirds of them are women and girls. Room to Read is on a mission to transform the lives of schoolgirls in developing nations through literacy, education and gender equality. The organization works in conjunction with governments and local communities by training teachers and librarians, distributing books, and creating a culture in which young girls become habitual readers and, in turn, more self-sufficient young women.

Literacy, Inc.

New York City is home to many of our nation’s literary greats—but it’s also home to hundreds of thousands of illiterate children. Literacy, Inc. or LINC, relies on a three-pronged approach—combining community partners, schools and families—to combat illiteracy and create a culture of reading among children. LINC targets families in need in all five boroughs, and its programming includes community coordinators who live in the neighborhoods where they work to serve as liaisons between young readers-in-the-making and the magical world of words.

Pajama Program

For many children, the ritual of going to sleep is one of warmth and affection—cozy PJs, a kiss goodnight, and, of course, a bedtime story. For other children, there is no one to give them these simple comforts. Children who live in group homes, shelters or temporary housing often show up without any belongings at all. The Pajama Project helps children in need across the country by giving them their own brand new pajamas and a book. For some of these children, it will be the first new items they’ll ever receive. Just $10 allows the Pajama Project to give a child in need pajamas and a book that just may spark a love of reading. To date, they’ve helped more than 4 million youths have a better bedtime.