Program Overview

Our History, Mission and What We Do



The READ Association of Saginaw County is a local initiative started in 1966 in response to a high correlation between juvenile delinquency, poverty and illiteracy.  One out of every three children find reading one of the most difficult tasks that they ever have to master.

READ's mission is to help students improve their reading skills and discover the joy of reading.  Primary goals are to motivate children to want to read and to enhance their confidence and self-esteem so that they can read at their respective grade level. READ strives to instill in all children a love of reading and the value of becoming a lifelong reader.  A child’s ability to read is important to their development to live as happy, successful and productive members of society.

READ is governed by a 15 member Board of Directors and is funded by the United Way of Saginaw County, local foundations, individual contributions and business partners.


The READ Mentor Program provides children the opportunity to share individualized weekly reading time with a volunteer mentor.  While reading is the primary focus, mentors also serve as positive role models, teaching children values, ethics and good character traits such as courage, honesty, friendship, kindness, truthfulness, integrity and compassion. Mentors mutually enjoy the experience and know that they have made a difference in the life of a child. READ sponsors special events throughout the year including book drives that provide at risk children with new books to keep and take home for their personal libraries. Sponsored in part by the United Way of Saginaw County.

Raising Readers Academy is a family literacy program designed to support, encourage, and share reading activities between parents and their children in their home. This program meets for 6-12 weeks to familiarize parents with reading expectations; provides a safe environment to ask questions and gain support;  and promotes positive literacy and engagement habits leading to systemic change. To register, call 989-755-8402 or email Sponsored in part by the United Way of Saginaw County and Frankenmuth Credit Union Foundation for Our Communities.

The Carolyn R. Otto Family Literacy Center serves as a literacy hub for children and their families. The Barton Reading & Spelling Program is used to provide free tutoring to help children with reading difficulties, such as dyslexia or below-grade reading performance. Parent workshops will be offered during the day to learn about community resources and receive reading support through speakers, training, make-and-takes, and discussions. Storytime for young children and their parents will be offered during the day, including stories, songs, and crafts. Raising Readers Academy will hold one session out of three at this location in the fall, winter, and summer. All programs are free for individuals and families and free transportation will be provided if needed.

 READing STARS brings students and nursing home residents together to read together for practice and pleasure. Five schools travel to five nursing homes by bus through STARS (Saginaw Transit Authority Regional Services) from October thru May. Students and residents enjoy reading books together, conversation, and creating intergenerational bonds. (temporarily suspended)

READ also sponsors “Books for Breakfast”, a pancake breakfast held in March during national reading month to promote family reading time; D.E.A.R. (Drop Everything and Read) at the Zoo, a literacy event to promote summer and family reading in June; and Mission: READ Camp, an opportunity for students to read and learn during the summer at Hartley Outdoor Education Center.



95% of teachers, principals, volunteers and center coordinators surveyed indicated that students have shown improvement in reading progress and improved their self-esteem and desire to want to read. 

Student achievements include:

  • Increased academic reading performance
  • Increased personal self confidence and self-esteem
  • Increased time spent reading outside of classroom setting
  • Increased number of reading books available in home
  • Developed meaningful relationship with mentor
  • Increased knowledge of value and importance of reading for a lifetime
  • Considering positive life options for their future.
  • Gaining soft skills needed to lead a successful life.






100 S. Jefferson  ·  Suite 203  ·  Saginaw, MI  48607  ·  Phone: 989.755.8402  ·  Fax: 989.755.8404