The Call

15% of Philadelphia’s 4th graders read proficiently; studies indicate that children who do not read proficiently by 3rd grade endure long term consequences: they are more likely to become a teen parent, drop out of school, end up in prison, or suffer from persistent health problems. For youth growing up in poverty, this risk is multiplied. Unfortunately, due to a lack of resources and funding, many youth attending Philadelphia’s schools are not taught to read a way that is conducive to their learning style and needs.

The Action

We at Boys & Girls Clubs of Philadelphia know that we can and must make a differences in the lives of the children we serve. This summer we unveiled a city wide literacy initiative designed to engage over 1500 youth annually in a multi-sensory approach to literacy education. At each Club, staff will be in communication with local schools to identify which students need our services and to collaborate to improve the literacy skills of participating youth. Each Literacy Center will be staffed by a full time literacy supervisor, certified in the Slingerland method of instruction

The Slingerland Approach

The multi-sensory Slingerland Approach starts with the smallest unit of sight, sound, and feel— a single letter. Expanding upon the single unit, students learning is reinforced through inter-sensory associations involving auditory, visual and movement stimulus. Often, youth struggling to read, experience a disconnection between their auditory, visual and kinesthetic learning functions. The Slingerland approach works to connect these modalities in a systematic and explicit way.

Research and Evaluation

We are in the process of establishing a partnership with a local university in order to understand and evaluate the impact of our Call to Action Literacy Initiative. The goal of this partnership is to help us understand the potential of using the Slingerland approach to literacy in an out of school setting and to establish a model for integration of in and out of school instruction.

Literacy Initiative Supporters:

Featured Literacy Supporter:

Sunoco Foundation

Additional Literacy Supporters

Allen Hillies Fund

Amelia Miles Foundation


Charter Foundation

Elmer Roe Deaver Foundation

Henry E. Niles Foundation

Hoxie Harrison Smith Foundation

Kinder Morgan Foundation

Lincoln Financial Foundation

The Sunoco Foundation

TD Bank Charitable Foundation

Tioga Foundation

Additional Literacy Information

For more information on our Call to Action Literacy Initiative please contact 215-735-8818 or email admin@bgcphila.org.