3Rs with the Community

While schools play an essential role in a child’s literacy development, children still only spend about 10% of their daily lives in classrooms. The remaining 90% is spent in after- or out-of-school spaces. In the community strand, we are focused on the organizations that support children’s literacy development in these after- and out-of-school spaces. We aim to engage these organizations in communities of practice that foster ongoing development of competencies around racial equity and relationships in children’s programming and organizational leadership.

The community strand partners with many of the agencies that support child and family literacy throughout Allegheny County: Allegheny County Library Association, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, Boys and Girls Clubs of Western PA, Dreamocracy Learning Lab, Jump Start-University of Pittsburgh, Literacy Pittsburgh, Raising Readers Together Club - Trying Together, Reading Ready Pittsburgh, Remake Learning, Reading is Fundamental Pittsburgh, and WQED Multi-media.  These agencies include library systems to literacy nonprofits to media corporations and more as the following diagram shows. We are grateful to the University of Pittsburgh School of Education and Remake Learning for supporting this strand’s work.

Charting showing 10 different literacy-focused agencies

Since the beginning of the 3Rs Initiative, we have engaged organizations in conversations about the state of literacy in the county (“Conversations for Connection”), provided a racial equity training for organizational leaders and staff led by Dr. Aisha White of the P.R.I.D.E. (Positive Racial Identity Development in Early Education) program, and embarked on a mapping project that sought to model the roles organizations play in the landscape, their current collaborations, and all of the neighborhoods and districts they reach. We have also spent time getting to know individual organizational representatives through ethnographic interviewing and small focus groups. We intend to further develop collaborative, reciprocal relationships with organizations as we seek to bring more focus on reading, racial equity, and relationships throughout local early literacy organizations.

Research Questions

What role(s) do literacy support organizations play in the Allegheny Count’s literacy ecosystem[WSB1] ?

Does having representatives from these literacy organizations participate in a community of practice that centers the 3Rs increase their 3Rs related beliefs, knowledge and skills.


  • Engaged Scholarship 101: Graduate Student Panel (Recording)
  • Igniting Racial Equity in Allegheny County’s Literacy Ecosystem (Remake Learning)
  • Community-Based Literacy Learning Spaces as Counterhegemonic Figured Worlds for African American Readers (Link)
  • Non-profits: A Pro-Literacy Tradition (Article featuring nonprofit initiatives, some of which are part of our local literacy ecosystem in Allegheny County!)

Resources specific to other cities/regions with widespread (organizational) approaches to improving literacy: