Supporting Parent Success - Campaign Pilot Evaluation

Free Library of Philadelphia, Read by 4th Campaign
Organization Overview: 

Read by 4th is a citywide campaign bringing together an ever-growing coalition of partners to double the number of children reading at grade level by the start of 4th grade—when school instruction changes from teaching students how to read to using reading to teach new subjects. Which means students who are not reading proficiently by then could fall further behind. 

That only a third of our children successfully reach the read-by-4th milestone is not the failing of any one institution or group of people in our city, nor is it the responsibility of any one group to address it. Indeed, it is something that can be fixed only if we come together as Philadelphians and embrace our collective responsibility to give all our children their best shot at success.

We are families, educators, literacy specialists, youth program providers, neighborhood merchants, faith leaders, block captains, and much more.

From a comprehensive research review and our ongoing conversations with practitioners, we know the key levers to grade-level reading, namely increased:

• School readiness

• Daily attendance

• Quality classroom instruction

• Out-of-school learning experiences


Through our network of 90+ partner organizations, we seek to impact outcomes in those four areas, realizing that the primary lever for each of these is the family's ability to be successful first teachers, role models, and advocates for their children.

Project Name: 
Supporting Parent Success - campaign pilot evaluation
Project Type: 
Program Evaluation
Project Overview: 

This evaluation will explore the impact of the Read by 4th communications campaigns on family knowledge behavior as it relates to supporting a child's early language and literacy skill development.

Students would likely need to approach data collection through interviews and focus groups. We imagine surveys distributed through our partner organizations might provide additional information. The bulk of the interviews and focus groups would be with parents and teachers. None of the instruments or protocols have been developed as of yet. We would be asking the students to develop the research design and the instruments and protocols necessary for caring out the evaluation project. The students would be asked to center the evaluation on these questions:

• how will we know if Read by 4th is penetrating at a community level?

• How will we know if behavior is shifting? 

• What are the most effective communication mechanisms for reaching families with our messages?

The results from this analysis will be used to provide the first look at how the campaign's messages are penetrating at a hyper-local level. We anticipate the findings will be used to inform future campaign activity and to seek out resources for a more in-depth follow-up study of the campaign's impact on knowledge and behavior.


The deliverable for this project would be a written report clearly articulating the approach as well as the research findings. If possible, the deliverable should contain recommendations for further evaluation of family knowledge and behavior related to supporting early language and literacy skill development in the home.

Spots Available: 
Executive; Full-Time
To Apply: 

To apply for this project, please contact Cassie Tomkins at

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Contact Information

Fels Institute of Government
University of Pennsylvania
3814 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Phone: (215) 898-2600
Fax: (215) 746-2829