Reading For Life



What we do

At Start Reading Now, we host and fund book fairs to help close the achievement gap for low-income kids in 1st, 2nd and 3rd grade. Our book fairs help kids create their very own library of 30 books, built over three summers - and it only costs $50 per year, per kid. We served nearly 1,000 kids in our first two years, and in 2017 that number jumped to 4,000 kids at 30 public schools across Minneapolis. In 2018, our program served all 1st, 2nd and 3rd graders at 30+ Minneapolis Public Schools and delivered books to over 5,500 kids! In 2019 we plan to serve the same MPS schools and hopefully expand to a few other school systems. Learn how you can support our efforts, by either donating or volunteering your time


Why we do it

Kids from low-income families, on average, have very few books in the home. If you don't have books, you don't read. If you don't read, you fall behind in school. Once you fall behind, you will struggle to catch up, potentially for the rest of your life. Helping kids add new books to their home libraries is a simple, low-cost and effective solution. 


How we do it

In order to get right amount of books to the right kids at the right time, we work with top-notch partners with expertise in education and book fairs. We also rely on amazing volunteers and donors who make our book fairs possible.  


The Real Story


"Of course, the real story is a bit more personal. When I was a kid, we were not exactly rich. Not in the free lunch crowd, but close. Yet every birthday or holiday, there was one thing I could count on - getting at least two books as presents. A book from my dad and one from my uncle. And I sure remember the year my mom saved money so she could buy me a set of serialized history books that I coveted. (Ok, so I was a bit of an odd child!) Every kid should have that chance to read, learn and expand his or her horizons. That's why I am so excited to Start Reading Now."

- Kevin

Start Reading Now Co-Founder and Chair




  • Latest from the blog

    KSTP News Coverage of Start Reading Now

    Check out this great footage of a Start Reading Now book fair in action. Thanks to Hmong International Academy for letting us capture your fair on film this year! And thanks to Atomic Data for all your superb volunteer support - we couldn't do this work without you. 
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    Year End Update - Give the Gift of Reading!

    "Thank you for the books! I am excited to read them this summer! You are kind." - Angelo, 2nd grader Hello Friends! As 2017 comes to a close, we wanted to share a note of updates, funding needs, and thanks. 2017 Highlights New branding, courtesy of Kick Creative in SW Minneapolis, with a major assist from our largest donor, Atomic Data Launched a new website with new technology integration: Used NationBuilder, SignUp Genius and Zapier to simplify coordination of volunteers Operated with 94% of resources going to program costs - for more details, see our 2017 Annual Report Give a gift that keeps on giving! Have you heard that before? But you really can give a gift that keeps giving at Start Reading Now. For every $50 that you donate, one child in need gets to shop at our book fairs and pick out 10 brand new books. This may seem like a small thing to some of us, but 10 new books in a home that has minimal reading material is a big deal. Access to these books will not only encourage more reading – but these books allow our kids to practice and KEEP their hard-earned reading skills over summer break. We all know that reading is important, but Tommy dePaola sums up its lasting impact best, “Reading is important, because if you can read, you can learn anything about everything and everything about anything.” So if you’re looking for a unique gift for the person on your list who - "has everything" - "doesn't want anything" - "wants you to donate to charity in their name"? Give the gift of reading! We're a small organization so your contribution will make a huge difference. But the best part? Your donation will ensure that one more child has the opportunity to discover the magic of books – what could be better than that? Thank you again for your interest, support and time in 2017. We appreciate all of you! Wishing you a wonderful holiday season and a Happy New Year! Start Reading Now (Lauren, Pam and Kevin!)  
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