United WE READ

United WE READ is building a Literacy Rich Community in the Greater Kingsport area of Tennessee.

Our Vision: By the end of 3rd grade, all students will be proficient or advanced in reading.

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About United WE READ

Most students who start behind, stay behind.

With a vision to see 100% of area 3rd graders reading proficiently, and as a signature community impact initiative of the United Way of Greater Kingsport since 2012, United WE READ has been a key community player fighting for early grade literacy among our youngest community members: Kindergarten, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd graders. Our unique positioning combines forces between two school systems, a robust network of afterschool programs, and key community stakeholders. Through United WE READ our children are growing toward future success.

Our mission is to engage, empower, and equip all children, families, and the Greater Kingsport community with tools and strategies that build a literacy rich culture, and a pathway to lifelong success.

Leading to Read. Reading to Lead.

Over 2,000 Kindergarten through  3rd graders are reached each year, and multiple teams of volunteers–over 200 strong–contribute to and execute programming for United WE READ….But we need your skills, your voice, and your partnership to fight for Early Grade Literacy.

United WE READ knows…
Reading is the basic tool for success in school, work, and life.

Children LEARN TO READ until 3rd grade then they READ TO LEARN.

By reading 20 minutes a day, children develop a larger vocabulary, a longer attention span, and better listening skills. Children that read 20 minutes a day are exposed to about 1.8 million words every year. That is 137 new words per minute!

Tools & Strategies



Join United WE READ in building a literacy-rich community by becoming a volunteer reader.

United WE READ has partnered with Kingsport City Schools and Sullivan County Schools to provide volunteer readers for students who need additional support to read at grade level.

Volunteer Readers are community members who give 30 minutes of their time weekly or bi-weekly to read with a student from September to May.

If you choose to volunteer bi-weekly, you have committed to only one hour a month.  According to research, this small commitment will make a significant impact in a child’s reading ability.

There are four requirements that must be met before you can be a United WE READ Volunteer Reader:

  1. Consent to a background check.  The United Way of Greater Kingsport has a secure, reliable source for conducting background checks.
  2. Complete the Volunteer Reader Training. This can be done by video or in person for larger groups of volunteers.
  3. Commit to being a child’s volunteer reader.  This requires a minimum of 30 minutes for each session.
  4. Provide feedback to United WE READ on your volunteer reader experience.

You can sign up to become a United WE READ Volunteer reader by sending a message under the “Contact Us” tab on this site!

Latest News

Local United Ways and Ballad Health Announce Early Grade Reading Partnership

United Way of Greater Kingsport and the United WE READ Initiative…
Students are read to during United WE READ's Summer Camp Read to Lead.

Happy World Read Aloud Day!

We've been talking a lot lately about reading aloud, and today…

Reading Aloud

What books have you discovered from reading aloud as a family?…

Contact us


301 Louis Street, Suite 201
Kingsport, TN 37660
Phone: (423) 378-3409
Fax: (423) 578-4059


Contact United WE READ to join us in building a Literacy Rich Community!

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