Portsmouth Reads ...

A community-based initiative to increase the literacy skills of the citizens of Portsmouth.

Portsmouth Reads was developed to confront the problem of illiteracy in the city of Portsmouth. This problem greatly affects the quality of education in our city. In 2002, the PALS test scores indicated 24% of the children entering kindergarten and first grade did not have the basic skills needed to learn to read. Eleven percent of the children tested failed outright and had to repeat the grade level. Research indicated that eighty-eight percent of these children would be poor readers throughout the rest of their school years. Thirty-three percent of the adult population in the city of Portsmouth is functionally illiterate. This not only affects our schools but our job market as well.

Community involvement has been the key to Portsmouth Reads' success. The 2011 PALS test results showed that 90% of Portsmouth's kindergartners mastered their pre-k screening. This was up from a 76% success rate in 2002, which is 14% increase. Portsmouth Reads oversees initiatives aimed at increasing literacy skills among Portsmouth citizens.




Over 1,200 books have been placed in participating child care centers and over 200 child care providers have been trained in the "Raising A Reader"© program.



Over 200 volunteers have been trained and equipped to serve as tutors for adults learning to read. Beginning in 2012 this program became a partnership between Portsmouth Reads, Children's Harbor, the Beazley Foundation, and the United Way South Hampton Roads. Sustaining grants from the Portsmouth General Hospital Foundation and The Friends of Portsmouth Public Library will keep this initiative running in years to come.



Encourages parents to interact with their young children through books and other early literacy activities and provides thousands of books to families who attend Family Literacy Nights.



These workshops provide attendees training on child development topics and meet the Department of Social Services' training requirements. Children from the centers that attend typically do very well on the PALS tests upon entering kindergarten.



Information packets, including a board book, a DVD with book-sharing tips and additional information about programs available through the Portsmouth Public Schools and the Portsmouth Public Library, are compiled by the Portsmouth Reading Council and are given to the parents of newborns at Maryview Hospital each month.

PR10  PR9

People are Portsmouth Reads greatest asset.

Volunteers make it possible.

Portsmouth Reads

2015 Board Members

Sue Burton, Portsmouth Reads Chair
Library Director, Retired

Marie Baker, Ph. D.
Professor of Early Childhood Education, Retired
QRIS Rater, Commonwealth

Sarah Bishop, MSW
Director of Education Initiatives
United Way of South Hampton Roads

Rachel Enrich, Librarian I
Portsmouth Public Library

Beth Griner, Director
Community Training & Professional Development
Children's Harbor - Early Education Programs

Jeanne E. Hopkins, M.S.
Assistant Professor & Program Head
Early Childhood Development Program, TCC

Sharon Howell, Program Director
Ida Barbor Early Learning Center

Christy John, MS.Ed
Infant Toddler Specialist
VAITSN/Children's Harbor

Katharine Kersey, Ed.D
University Professor of Early Childhood Education
Child Study Center - Old Dominion University

Bria Matchett, Executive Director
Portsmouth Partnership

Sandra Ratcliff, Preschool Teacher
Simonsdale Prebyterian Church Preschool

Alisa T. Smith, Executive Director
Portsmouth Schools Foundation

Dr. Helen W. Taylor
Director of English Education
Portsmouth Public Schools