Wise Readers to Leaders program sites are nurturing and positive learning and enrichment environments where: 
  • Scholars read carefully selected and distinctive books with culturally relevant themes, and are engaged in developmentally appropriate learning activities that are uniquely created by curriculum experts to improve literacy, instill a love of reading and build self-confidence in Scholars’ academic abilities
  • Lesson plans incorporate the development areas of cultural awareness, character development and STEM skills, specifically tailored to address the constituency served
  • Scholars engage daily with college age Literacy Leaders (at a 1:12 ratio), teen volunteer Junior Literacy Leaders, and dedicated adult volunteers, all who share a love for reading and a commitment to improving the education inequality in Los Angeles
  • Every day begins with our Reading Rally, a morning session of group cheers, mindfulness, yoga and appreciation moments, and a reading from a community volunteer that emphasizes the importance of literacy and helps set the tone and goals for the day 
  • Scholars receive a healthy breakfast, snack, and lunch every day providing fuel for learning and play 
  • Scholars follow the Wise Readers to Leaders framework of dreaming, learning, supporting each other, and striving for a better future together
  • Scholars are offered counseling and support services in order to provide holistic programming that helps them better understand themselves and the community around them
  • The impact of our activities on Scholars is reinforced with free workshops for parents on subjects including financial literacy, drug prevention, nutrition, and resume writing, a multi-dimensional approach necessary for children’s success: a holistic and supportive life skills program built around reading
Wise Readers to Leaders provides a summer literacy and enrichment program that supports Scholars and families, which includes the following:
  • Innovative literacy and enrichment curriculum that fosters cultural awareness, individual development, mindfulness and STEM skills 
  • Parent and family engagement through parent workshops & volunteer opportunities
  • Enrichment activities such as science, dance, art, music, sports, field trips and more that booster self-confidence and nurture positive attitudes toward learning
  • Literacy, and cultural awareness programming that includes intercultural learning and exchanges
  • Mental and physical health and well-being through holistic and inclusive programming
  • Trauma-informed care and mindfulness are incorporated into staff training and teaching, enhancing the learning of children who have been repeatedly subjected by trauma, as found by scientists 
  • Cultural competency training for staff and volunteers so that they can learn more about our Scholars’ diverse backgrounds and how to best serve our population


In 2012, Readers to Leaders began as an outreach program of Stephen Wise Temple, a leading 50-year-old Reform Jewish congregation in Los Angeles, CA. From those origins – and connected to Jewish values of tikkun olam, “healing the world” – Readers to Leaders engages college students and Jewish teens in running its literacy and enrichment programs, thus serving as a profound service learning, leadership training, and intercultural program. Due to the program’s success, Readers to Leaders became an independent non-profit organization, and it expanded the program from serving an initial 50 students to today’s impact of over 250 youth.

Initially a collaboration with the Children’s Defense Fund, which designed the curriculum first used, Readers to Leaders quickly became one of the leading, highest-impact sites. Readers to Leaders has built on that success to create its own innovative and unique program, with curricula designed specifically for its predominately Latino community.

*Wise Readers to Leaders, formerly known as Wise Freedom School Partners, is pleased to announce that in 2017 has begun a multi-year expansion of its leading summer and year round programming to include middle school programming, even deeper volunteer opportunities, and increased intercultural exchange. As part of this expansion, Wise Readers to Leaders is excited to capture more moments this summer.