united way of greater chattanooga

Literacy Programs

Here at United Way, education is Job 1. It’s the cornerstone of all our work, and it’s the key to ending many social problems before they start. Children who love books become lifelong readers.  And lifelong readers become lifelong learners who will do well in school, graduate high school on time, and continue their education beyond high school. 

But some kids have a hard time getting a good start with books. So we champion programs to help children catch up and become good readers so they can read at grade level on time, and programs that help them get the books they need, when they need them. 


United Way Reading Centers

Formed through a grassroots partnerships between United Way, community funders, and neighborhood associations, Neighborhood Reading Centers opened in Chattanooga with the mission of encouraging parents and children to read for success in school and life. Currently, United Way and the Friends of the Library join forces each May to obtain the books for each center from the Hamilton County Department of Education's Summer Reading List.    These reading centers provide safe places for neighborhood residents to read   - and learn - together. 

The philosophy is that all public school students should be within walking distance of their summer reading list for easy access.  To find the locations for all the centers,  click here .



Children who can't read at grade level are at high risk of dropping out of school. The Chattanooga Literacy Initiative, a partnership between United Way, the City of Chattanooga's Department of Youth and Family Development, and the Front Porch Alliance, are working together to close the reading gap for students who have fallen behind.  We’re employing Lexia, one of the most highly-regarded reading software programs in the nation, and it’s available to children in schools, community centers, nonprofit programs and churches throughout the city. 

In fact, this fun way for kids to improve their literacy skills available is FREE at more than 50 Lexia Reading Centers  in Chattanooga.  To enroll your student, learn more about the program, or to find a site near you, click on the link below.  If you have problems with your request, please call Elizabeth Tallman at 423-752-0307 or email  reading@uwchatt.org.  




Reading Eggs

Developed for children ages 3 to 13, Reading Eggs is a comprehensive learn-to-read program created by a highly experienced team of elementary school teachers, writers, and developers.  We like it because it’s so good at helping kids become fluent and proficient readers. It supports a child’s journey to reading with carefully designed online reading games and activities that are easy to follow, self-paced, and highly engaging for young learners. 

United Way is supporting Reading Eggs in the Hamilton County school system and at City of Chattanooga Family and Youth Development Centers through financial and management assistance.