Alvernia READS is an early childhood literacy program run through the Holleran Center for Community Engagement at Alvernia University, working also in partnership with the Greater Reading Cops ‘N Kids program. Alvernia READS puts a strong emphasis on working with children in grades K-2 while Cops ‘N Kids reaches out to children in grades K-5. We are aiming to get more books into the hands of underprivileged/at-risk youth to give them greater access to books in their homes, establish the importance of reading for fundamental success and encourage a life-long love for reading.

New Program Manager for Alvernia READS!

Hi Everyone! My name is Cody Moyer and I am the new Americorps VISTA that is managing the Alvernia READS program. I am super excited to take over where Heather left off, and continue to maintain and grow this great program!

5th Graders at Temple Oheb Sholom in Wyomissing collect over 600 books for children in need

5th Grade Hebrew School at Temple Oheb Sholom collects over 600 books! Can kids really make a difference? Well, the fifth graders at Temple Oheb Sholom in Wyomissing think so. They collected books for the Alvernia READS program at Alvernia University, an organization that supports literacy by ensuring that every child has access to books at home.

To start the project, they made book collection boxes to attract donors. They put the boxes at Temple Oheb Sholom and at Kesher Zion Synagogue in Reading. Then, the students promoted the book drive to the Jewish Community. They received different kinds of books from Beginning-to-Read books to Chapter Books. The fifth graders wanted to do it because it’s a good deed and in Judaism it is important to help others.

Student Talia Spillerman says, “I feel great doing this deed. It helps me feel more connected to the world.” Student Gabrielle Levine agreed, “We are giving books to kids that do not have a lot. It gives these kids a chance.”

The class far exceeded their own expectations: they set a goal of 360 books and collected 674 books!

Written  by: Vicki Graff, 5th Grade Hebrew teacher

These are the top 10 MOST read books in the world!

These are the top 10 MOST read books in the world!

March volunteer opportunites!

Please check out March volunteer opportunites for Alvernia READS!!!! Stay tuned for pictures from this semester so far!

Monday, March 11th            12:30-1:30        Tyson-Schoener-1st Grade

Tuesday, March 12th           1:30-2:30          Tyson-Schoener-Kindergarten

Wednesday, March 13th     1:30-2:30          Millmont- 1st grade

Thursday, March 14th          3:30-4:30          Berks County Family Center

Friday, March 15th               1:00-2:00          Montessori- Kindergarten

Monday, March 18th            12:30-1:30        Tyson-Schoener-1st Grade

Tuesday, March 19th           1:30-2:30          Tyson-Schoener-Kindergarten

Wednesday, March 20th     4:00-5:00          SRYI

Tuesday, March 26th          1:30-2:30           Millmont- 1st grade

Quick update


What a crazy busy semester Alvernia READS has  in store! Here are the dates for February. A post about our adventures thus far will be coming soon!

Monday, February 11th  12:30-1:30   Tyson-Schoener 1st Grade

Wednesday, February 13th   1:30-2:30  Millmont Elementary 1st grade

Thursday, February 14th   3:30-4:30   Berks County Family Center

Wednesday, February 20th  4:00-5:00  SRYI                                                      

Thursday, February 21st   1:30-2:30  Tyson-Schoener Kindergarten

Monday, February 25th   12:30-1:30   Tyson-Schoener 1st Grade

Wednesday, February 27th  1:30-2:30  Millmont Elementary 1st grade

Thursday, February 28th  3:00-5:00    St. Joe’s

Book drive held by St. Columbkill’s Parish in Boyertown, PA!

Books just keep coming in! The St. Columbkill’s Parish in Boyertown held a book drive on the weekend of December 1st and 2nd. Believe it or not… in one weekend the parish collected 1,260 books! I can honetly say that “when you ask, you shall receive!!!!” I have never seen so much generosity in my life in ONE weekend at a church. I love my parish so much. The congregation is truly giving, even in times where we don’t have money ourselves. I was overwhelmed as I walked into church to go to mass on December 2nd by the amount of books that piled up in the small area where I placed boxes for books. I feel extremely blessed to be in this VISTA for many reasons… one of which is I get to see the goodness in people. It is rewarding on so many levels! Thank you St. Columbkill’s for your kindness!

My car was jam packed with all of these books. I actually couldn’t fit 2 boxes in my car so I had my brother bring them to Alvernia for me. That is how many books are there. Crazy awesome!!!!

Thanks for reading friends!


"I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear." -MLK

Books, books, and more books!

During the months of October and November, the freshman at Alvernia University held a book drive to collect books for the Cops’n’kids program! I am happy to announce that the freshman class collected 1,148 books! How awesome is that! I hope these FYS classes that participated understand the impact they will have on the children in the Greater Reading area. Below is the first place FYS class who collected 303 books! Great job friends!

Peace friends,


“When you are dealing with children, above all else you must have passion.”- Ron Clark

Alvernia READS shenanigans of November/December

Today is December 6th. It is the last Alvernia READS visit of the semester. We will be ending our journey at St. Joe’s after-school program. What a wonderful adventure it has been to work with volunteers, teachers, principals, and best of all children. Every visit I go to, the kiddos are so excited to be taking a book home to call their own. I have also learned a lot from the children we meet. I have learned that something as simple as a children’s book can be life-changing. I have actually learned just as much from my volunteers.

Here are thoughts from volunteers about the Alvernia READS program:

“For me Alvernia Reads is not about the credit, but helping children develop a lifetime love of reading. The children I work with are always excited when they see us walk in. They know they are about to hear a story and do a fun activity, but most of all the excitement of getting a new book. As Heather puts the books out the children are already talking about which books they want. They are now even beginning to tell me some books I should get. I love the program and hope that it continues to grow so more children have the opportunity to participate.”

            -Shontai Greene, Junior Education major

“Alvernia Reads is always a fun, exciting, and new learning experience! I have been to various trips with Alvernia Reads, and I can honestly say that it is eye-opening to work with the children, and to see their faces when they receive a new book is truly priceless. I have gained so much by going to Alvernia Reads, especially skills that will prepare me for my future career as a teacher.”

            -Marena Bondi, Freshman Education major

“Alvernia READS is an early childhood literacy program that enables young minds to be introduced to the beneficial action of reading. The kids have an opportunity to engage in reading books and play literacy games with their classroom friends. I thought it was great that the program collected books here on campus and brought them to the site for the children to take home after they finished reading that day. As this is my favorite service opportunity offered by the HCCE, I loved seeing these kids become so captivated by the power of words and I know each of us volunteers look forward to returning as soon as possible!”          

-Katie Jo Galezniak, Freshman Occupational Therapy major

It puts a smile on my face to know that what we do is educational, fun, and most of all worth-while to the Alvernia students, too. This semester we had a WONDERFUL and enthusiastic bunch of student volunteers.

"There are many little ways to enlarge a child’s world. Love of books is the best of all." - Jaqueline Kennedy

Peace and Happiness,


What have we been up to!?

Hello to everyone!

  Welcome to the new blogging site for the Alvernia READS program at Alvernia University. My name is Heather Shainline and I am the AmeriCorps*PACC-VISTA that coordinates this program. By reading this, you can keep up with all of our events and volunteer opportunites. I will try to keep this updated as much as possible— those kiddos keep me busy (in an awesome way) :)

So far this semester, we have visited 17 schools and after-school programs, read to over 500 children, and handed out over 1000 books!!!! WOW! We also have had 70 volunteers come out and read to the children. All of the children we have served are wonderful. They have all been full of joy, happiness, and excitement as we read to them. Below I will highlight just a few of our visits…

Here we have Jill Pate, a junior Education major at Alvernia, read to her Kindergarten students at Tyson-Schoener Elementary School. Jill is great with the kids and she is such a great teacher!

Nicola Burrow, a junior Education major, does a literacy activity that she created with her students! Nicola  is another great teacher-to-be!

Here we have Marena, Taylor, and Cortnee… 3 of my greatest volunteers. This picture is from Trick-or-Treat night at Alvernia. We handed out around 400 books to nearly 250 children! The night went very smoothly all thanks to these ladies.

Time to hand out books at Trick-or-Treat night at Alvernia!

These are just a few of the events that we did with Alvernia READS. I will post more pictures and more updates when they come. Stay tuned, friends :)


“A children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children’s story in the slightest.”
C.S. Lewis