WakeEd works collaboratively with the Wake County Public School System, businesses, and community volunteers to ensure that every student graduates with the tools needed to succeed in a global economy. Perhaps no tool is as important as a strong ability to read.

From kindergarten to third grade, students are learning to read. By the time they arrive in fourth grade, students are reading to learn. This means students who are not reading on grade-level at the end of third grade can begin to fall behind in all school subjects — not just reading.

In 2016, 31% of third graders in Wake County were not reading at grade-level.


These students are more likely to struggle throughout the rest of their school experiences. They are more likely to drop out, live in poverty, or become negatively involved in the judicial system. WakeEd Partnership is committed to helping children reach this critical milestone.


Partners Read

Partners Read places mentors into WCPSS elementary schools to read with struggling first and second grade students. Volunteers from businesses or community organizations have the unique opportunity to develop one-on-one relationships with Wake County students, as they help them increase confidence and enjoyment in reading. Additionally, students add the books that they have read with their mentors to their personal libraries.

During each session, mentors read a book with their student. The child keeps the book for the week, with the goal that they will be able to read the book independently when their mentor returns the following week.

Partners Read is a nationally recognized program with The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading

“The WakeEd Partnership Partners Read program is great! I love the simple and effective plan, and it is a JOY to witness. All of our first graders showed up excited. The volunteers were engaging and interested in the kids. LOVE it!”

-Jasmine Barcelona, K-2 Literacy Coach
Wilburn Elementary School
Lawyers Read in WCPSS Schools (3:00) – Originally called “Lawyers Read,” Partners Read started as a joint program by WakeEd Partnership, the Wake County Bar Association and Wake County Public Schools. The program placed area lawyers in Wake County schools to read with elementary school children. The program continues today with many more businesses and schools in Wake County.

Current Partners

Get Involved


Mentors read with students over 10 weeks for approximately 30-45 minutes per week. Volunteers are assigned to a school located near their home, business, or organization. Businesses and organizations are responsible for providing the books that children receive.


It only takes $100 to pair a struggling first-grade student with a volunteer reader and give them 10 books for their personal library. Your donation is at work for an entire school year, as each student becomes more confident and excited about reading.

How to Donate

“It is a wonderful program for building the students’ confidence and enjoyment of reading!”

“It has been a rewarding and enjoyable experience to see the progress the students have made.”

“I have enjoyed working in the program. My two students have been a pleasure to work with, and I look forward to the time I spend with them each week.”

“It has been such an enjoyable experience to see the children learn new words and put them into context. It’s amazing how much 30 minutes a week can help a child with their reading skills.”

To learn more about Partners Read, contact:

Teresa Pierrie

Director of Programs

(919) 780-5235 | tpierrie@wakeed.org

Working as a Community

WakeEd believes that a single organization cannot tackle this program alone. The knowledge gained by collaboration can improve policies and practices for all as we work toward raising healthy and successful children. We are committed to working with nonprofits, community groups, and many other organizations to help tackle the problem of early child literacy.


WAKE Up and Read

WakeEd is one of the partner organizations that serves on the leadership team for WAKE Up and Read, a community-wide collaborative aligned with the national Campaign for Grade-Level Reading. Program efforts address school readiness, summer learning loss, school attendance, and health and wellness.

CHERRYFIELD, MAINE -- 01/21/2016 -- Cherryfield Elementary School sixth-graders sort donated books in english teacher Emily VanOrmer's class for the Cherryfield Free Public Library. Pictured are from left: Jackson Murphy, Isaac Bailey, Andrew Caplin and Laine Borer.  Gabor Degre | BDN

WAKE Up and Read Book Drive

WakeEd is the fiscal sponsor for the annual WAKE UP and Read Book Drive, which connects businesses and organizations that are collecting books with the teachers, students, and parents who need them. In 2016, we collected more than 1140,000 books for 7,100 children in 10 high-need elementary schools and 20 childcare centers.

Literacy Tool Kits

WakeEd worked with educators to create Literacy Tool Kits, which have bilingual tools for parents to bring reading home to their families. With bilingual books and worksheets, parents have the tools they need to help their children increase reading competency. One mom shared: “I’ve never had bilingual books for my children. Now I can read to my children at home. What a gift.”

Book Donations

WakeEd worked with the PNC Foundation to provide books and literacy toolkits for students in two rural WCPSS elementary schools.

Literacy Summits

Thanks to generous support of PNC and AT&T, WakeEd was able to hold four local literacy summits that connected families with resources to support their children’s developing literacy skills. The summits — in Zebulon, Knightdale, Rolesville, and Wendell — provided parents, caregivers, daycare workers, faith-based organizations, and educators with fun and practical ways to promote literacy at home.