United We Read


Getting our students off to a great start!
United WE READ is a campaign dedicated to providing the tools and resources for young children to read at grade-level by the start of fourth grade brought to you by United Way and its partners.

We know that reading is an essential tool for success in school, work and life. And, research tells us that reading proficiently by the start of fourth grade an important predictor of high school graduation and career success. Yet only 40 percent of fourth graders in Connecticut are meeting this crucial milestone.  Moreover, struggling readers are disproportionately Black or Hispanic and/or from low-income households, and score on average 35 points below White or higher-income peers on standardized reading tests – the largest gap in the nation.

United WE READ has partnered with our school systems, municipalities and local and national initiatives to ensure our children are learning to read, and then reading to learn!



United WE READ Resources, Tools & Strategies

Campaign for Grade Level Reading (CGLR)
At United Way, we mobilize people and resources so that children succeed academically and families are financially secure.One way we do this is through the Campaign for grade-Level Reading (CGLR).

Nationally, the CGLR partnership between schools, municipalities, businesses and community organizations rallies behind a coordinated effort to ensure all youth are reading on grade-level by the end of third grade, a critical milestone and predictor of on-time high school graduation.

Launched in 2012, our core strategies include promoting early learning and school readiness, consistent school attendance and preventing summer learning loss. We also support efforts to build literacy skills both in and out of school.

Get Involved:

 For parents and caregivers:
• Read with your child for 20 minutes a day.
• Talk and sing to your child starting at birth to help build their vocabulary.
• Ensure that school age children are attending everyday (in-person or virtually).
• Connect your children with quality early learning and out of school time programs. Visit 211ct.org for more information.
• Enroll in Dolly Parton Imagination Library to receive FREE books that will be mailed to you at home. (Available to Hartford residents only).

Volunteer: United Way Readers Program
United Way Readers matches a caring volunteer with a student who is behind in reading. United Way Readers understand the importance of investing in a student’s future; as the relationship develops we see volunteers starting to read more books connected to the interests of students and students develop a love of reading.

United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut and its partners invite you to spend an hour one day per week reading with a student as part of the United Way Volunteer Readers Program. The program is currently running virtually.  Contact Phil Blonski at pblonski@unitedwayinc.org to get involved.

What it’s Like to be a Reader

Volunteer: United Way Literacy Kits
Helping to build children’s libraries at home and in the classroom. A United Way Literacy Kit is comprised of a book and a collection of related props, games or other activities designed to make reading interactive and enjoyable for both the child and the reader. Contents of the Literacy Kit help bring the book to life for the child and deepen the reading experience. So far, thousands of children have received United Way Literacy Kits created by workplace volunteers across our region.

This is recommended as a group team-building exercise. Costs are associated. Please contact Phil Blonski, Senior Manager, Community Engagement at pblonski@unitedwayinc.org to get started. Virtual opportunities are available.

Visit www.unitedwayinc.org/donate to support these great programs at others that support the well-being of children and families in central and northeastern Connecticut.