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Montgomery Education Foundation (MGM Reads)

Montgomery Education Foundation (MEF) advocates equity and access for successful outcomes for all Montgomery public school students. Founded on the belief of accountability and achievement of high standards, MEF develops and grows opportunities for our local governments, businesses, individuals, and philanthropic foundations to become actively engaged as volunteers and/or investors for public schools.

Since 2013, MEF has successfully led a 5-week academic enrichment program in partnership with Montgomery Public Schools that has mitigated summer learning loss for all students involved. When the pandemic hit and schools closed, MEF developed an initiative and programming called MGM Reads, which provided:

  • Book kits that included two new books (one story, one non-fiction/knowledge-based), three books marks with comprehension questions

  • Read aloud videos of 24 storybooks and 64 chapters from a book series, read by community members and leaders across Montgomery.

  • Activities created aligned to the readings, including extension activities, reading response questions and vocabulary word play

An essential part of MGM Reads is the selection of culturally inclusive books, representing the community that they serve, affirming stories of characters of color, especially Black characters. During the COVID19 pandemic, MGM Reads set up book distributions at a local public school each Wednesday and a local church’s mobile food pantry each Thursday. In June 2020, they distributed 3,504 books to 1,931 children this summer to either create or build home libraries (each within a book kit with the other literacy resources listed above). Whereas the physical books were important, the engaging content of the books were even more important.

“MGM Reads is a campaign to engage the children of Montgomery in 30 minutes of reading a day through online storytelling; increasing the number of books in their homes by distributing selected books at partner locations; as well as support effective in-home reading behaviors for families by modeling and promoting city-wide incentives through traditional and social media..." - Jackie Bretl, Program Director of Montgomery Education Foundation

Data collected from Montgomery families showed overwhelmingly positive results:

  • 99% of >200 families want to continue participating in programming.

  • Over 89% of families would like to continue receiving more books for their home

  • 99% of families have said that MGM Reads helped their child read more this summer.

“ It is our hope that through this partnership thousands of families can have access to books in house and online, the number one determinant of household literacy, as well as adopt an in house reading time patterned after the virtual readings. Studies show that students who read at least 30 minutes per day are shown to display nine times the reading growth and three times the vocabulary growth of students that read less than 20 minutes per day.” - Jackie Bretl, Program Director of Montgomery Education Foundation

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