From Partner School Principals

“Wise Readers to Leaders’ students return to our school in the fall not only as stronger readers, but with their heads held a little higher and with a positive attitude about their learning.”

Read the full Letter of support 

Michael Payne, Principal of Fullbright Avenue Elementary School

“The program has been a huge success and its impact has been incredibly significant on our students.”

Read the full Letter of Support

Jodi Harrison, Principal of Stanley Mosk Elementary School

From Our Scholars

“Wise Readers to Leaders gives you the freedom to be who you are. Freedom from everything bad in your life. Freedom to just be free.”

“I like Wise Readers to Leaders because we learn a lot of things like we read, write and we do lots of activities. It is special to me because we do lots of things that inspire you, like they tell you to follow your dreams.”

“They’ve inspired me. They’ve told me to ‘keep on going, you can do this.’”

“Wise Readers to Leaders allows you to feel free around good people. You feel safe to do stuff and just have a chance to tell people who you are without being shy. Once you get to know people, the less stuff you have to worry about. If you tell a Literacy Leader or Junior Literacy Leader something, they will help you with the problem. Readers to Leaders is like a diary or journal that you can keep secrets with.”

“The Literacy Leaders, Junior Literacy Leaders, the Site Coordinator, and others have encouraged me to be myself. I really enjoy Wise Readers to Leaders as a whole, how they inspire kids to read, and encourage other kids to be happy, and to jump up and down, doing cheers and chants.”

From Our Scholars’ Parents

“My son was given a book about Biology one summer at Wise Readers. After reading that book all he wanted to do was find out how the body worked and how the brain helps us function. The same year his Literacy Leader suggested he watch the movie ‘Dr. Strange.’ It is about a neurosurgeon. He has watched that movie over and over. Thanks to Wise Readers he opened his eyes to the possibility of working in a field in which math and science are dominant. He is now so focused on his school work, which I completely credit to your program. My saying ‘Thank you’ does not even come close to the gratitude and respect I have for you all and your program.”

“From the smiles you put on their faces, to the knowledge they soak up, and to the determination of endless hard work everyone has put in to making all dreams possible, thank you.”

“That’s what I notice, that every time they go to [Wise Readers to Leaders], is that there is no word “no,” that I cannot do it. Yes I can.”

“My favorite thing about [Wise Readers to Leaders] is the excitement that I see on my kids’ faces. Their enthusiasm about learning.”

From Our Junior Literacy Leaders

I have learned a lot from WRTL. I have developed more patience, I have learned how to help others learn in the best way possible for them, and how to engage the scholars in the fun activities planned. My favorite memory from WRTL is when another JLL and I had our last day and left for sleep-away camp. At camp, we got a letter in the mail from our LL and all the scholars who wanted to know how we were doing. It made me so happy that they had missed us and truly allowed me to realize how strong of a connection I had made with my scholars.

I have learned how to mentor, teach, and learn from scholars summer after summer watching them grow. My favorite memory from WRTL was last summer during MultiCultural Day when we studied different cultures throughout the summer and all got together sharing what we had learned as well as ate some great food. Remote Reading is also very special because creating a year round relationship with even just one scholar can mean so much to us as well as them.

I’ve learned so much from WRTL, but what really sticks out is the patience, perseverance, responsibility, and leadership skills that I have gained after each summer and throughout the year. My favorite memory from WRTL is when we went to the California Science Center. It was such a fun day for both the scholars and the JLLs, but the best part for me was seeing their reactions to the Endeavour space shuttle. When we walked into the room, their jaws dropped and they were in awe of it. It was the most rewarding experience. 

“This summer was my first year being a JLL and in short, it was one of the most life changing and rewarding experience. It is difficult to convey how much this program made me grow as a person and how deep and everlasting the impact of these scholars has made. There has not been a day that goes by when I haven’t thought about the connections I made and memories of the scholar’s smiles and recollections of their faces “lighting up” when they were able to sound out a new word. This program has made not only such an impact on me, but the community around me.”

“I learned that even technology cannot separate the bond between humans, this area of strength between us that is pulled closer when kids are able to learn so much even if it isn’t in person is so grand and special. It really is just beautiful to understand the difference you can make through these connections you share with the kids and just by opening yourself up, complimenting them, or teaching them something they hadn’t known before- all of it is just so eye-opening and makes me feel so fortunate that I was in this program to see it first hand and to see their growth.”

“I have been involved in many different community service organizations for as long as I can remember but Wise Readers tops them all! Many of my contemporaries and peers attended service trips to places such as Fiji and Costa Rica. However, volunteering and helping the community right in my backyard is so much more meaningful. Additionally, I am involved in many different Jewish organizations, but being a JLL seemed to be the greatest act of tikkun olam!”

A skill I have learned as a JLL is patience, as working with kids especially over zoom can sometimes be very hectic. However, patience helped me to create a lasting bond with each scholar in my class, and also helped our class as a whole grow closer and have even more fun this summer! A lesson I learned as a JLL this summer, is when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Although I’ve heard the saying before, I finally understood its true meaning this summer. Despite the global health crisis and quarantine, we were still able to make the most of the situation by holding camp this summer, which I think will have a lasting impact on the growth of our scholars!”

From Our Junior Literacy Leaders’ Parents

“My children look exhausted and inspired at the end of each day.  No doubt, they appreciate the responsibility and the privilege they have been given. They care about doing a good job for the kids. This program is a very rare opportunity for them to translate the concept of Tikkun Olam into direct action with one consistent group of children, for an extended length of time, in their own Los Angeles community, where they (JLL’s and Scholars) will very likely be coexisting as adults in the not so distant future.”

“Lilly is a changed person because of this program. The trajectory of her life will forever be affected because of this program. I truly believe it is the single most important thing she has participated in during her school career.”

From Our Staff

“My experience working at Readers to Leaders has been extremely influential in my decision to apply to law school.  I learned a great deal during our staff trainings about the extremely complex issues with the education system. While programs like ours make such a huge impact for the scholars we are able to serve, I realized that these issues are deeply rooted and changes need to be made at all levels. My experience has lead me to want to pursue child advocacy law and potentially work on education policy.  I will be interning with the Alliance for Children’s Rights this fall and will hopefully be able to continue to learn about the issues surrounding education. It was amazing to see Readers to Leaders become an independent program this summer and I feel so lucky to have been able to build relationships with the amazing scholars in our program.”