A Note of Thanks from our Director

As I looked around my friend's home office, and took in the piles of carefully curated books, I felt a sense of pride. Here we were – two Minnesotans each running a nonprofit, passionate about literacy and kids, all while being parents ourselves. We work in the in-between spaces – during naps, after bedtimes and school drop offs. In our homes, out of our cars and on our laptops. Together we contribute to a larger picture of local people who care about Minnesota kids. Who care about literacy and creating lifelong readers.  

Over the past 7 years of working for Start Reading Now, I've been inspired countless times by the people I collaborate with.  

From the school employees who add to their already overloaded plates to make sure students have access to free books. To Start Reading Now's founders who gave me a dream job. ...

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Book fairs providing free books for St. Paul Public Schools students

On Thursday, May 30, young students at St. Paul Public Schools (SPPS) will have an opportunity to walk away with free books.

SPPS is hosting a series of elementary book fairs with Start Reading Now, a Minneapolis-based nonprofit that helps all kids experience the joy of a book fair.

Read more at: https://kstp.com/kstp-news/local-news/book-fairs-providing-free-books-for-st-paul-public-schools-students/

Atomic Data Devastated by the Unexpected Death of CEO and Co-owner Jim Wolford

We are absolutely heartbroken to tell our SRN friends and family that on Friday evening, Board Chair Jim Wolford passed away unexpectedly. At this incredibly shocking time our thoughts and love are with Jim's wife and two sons, who he cherished and loved beyond words.

Jim's commitment to SRN and literacy programs will live on. With an eye towards national expansion, bringing in new sponsors, and growing the operation, Jim's vision was changing the world through reading. The SRN board is committed to this vision and will continue to champion the power of reading that Jim believed so passionately in.

A full statement is available from Atomic Data, Jim's primary business. https://www.atomicdata.com/atomic-data-devastated-by-the-unexpected-death-of-ceo-jim-wolford/

Literati Book Fairs Expand into Minneapolis with Start Reading Now Partnership

Literati, the popular curator and distributor of children's books, announced this week that it will expand its Literati Book Fair operations into Minneapolis in partnership with nonprofit literacy organization Start Reading Now. The arrangement will bring some 21 free Literati Book Fairs to Minneapolis schools in 2023 and will fund free books for kids in need. The initiative marks Literati's entrance into the Minneapolis market.

Read more at Publisher's Weekly

Spreading the Word: How Lauren Beek Cultivates Young Readers’ Passion for Books

Kids shop for books at an SRN book fair

Lauren Beek’s passion for books started early: she remembers the excitement of being able to read a beloved Berenstain Bears book on her own for the first time. This enthusiasm grew, leading her to major in English, and become a nonprofit Communications specialist.

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IEM's Cammy Smith joins the board at Start Reading Now


Start Reading Now, a Minneapolis literacy nonprofit, announced today that it has appointed Cammy Smith, MBA, CEPA®, CEO and President of Integrated Equity Management (IEM), to its board of directors effective March 17, 2021. 

"As we approach another Summer of online book fairs and begin to look to the future of Start Reading Now, we wanted to bring in fresh ideas and guidance,” said Jim Wolford, Start Reading Now’s chairman. “In addition to IEM’s continued financial support, Cammy’s leadership and professional network will enable us to plot a course towards regional and eventually national expansion. The entire board is thrilled to welcome Cammy to the team!”

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Atomic Data Takes the Lead with Start Reading Now

February 16, 2021 -- MINNEAPOLIS, MN -- Local literacy nonprofit Start Reading Now has transitioned to a board led by Atomic Data employees, Minnesota’s on-demand, always-on, IT as a Service provider, effective February 1, 2021. Atomic Data has been a long-time financial and volunteer supporter of Start Reading Now, and will help the nonprofit continue operations in the face of COVID-19. The change in leadership will allow Start Reading Now to better serve its existing market and eventually expand operations beyond the Twin Cities. 

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Start Reading Now on the Unleashed Podcast

Have you ever wondered how Start Reading Now came to be? Listen to co-founder, Kevin Terrell discuss our origin story and the research behind it with Will Bachman. Thanks again to Will and Umbrex for having us on the Unleashed podcast!

Episode 144 - Listen now!

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. 

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!)