Philadelphia Reading Olympics

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The Philadelphia Reading Olympics, a program of Philadelphia Reads, gives the following descriptive information:

The Philadelphia Reading Olympics is a city-wide collaborative reading competition coordinated by PHILADELPHIA READS, the Free Library of Philadelphia, the School District of Philadelphia, the Archdiocese, and the City of Philadelphia.

The Reading Olympics engages fourth through eighth graders from Philadelphia’s public, parochial, charter, independent and after school programs in a reading competition. Teams of up to 12 students collectively read the books on the Philadelphia Reading Olympics book list and practice working together as a team to answer questions about those books.

The teams come together in May at an assigned college campus location to answer questions about the books. The teams accumulate points for every correct answer during three rounds of competition earning each team member a blue, red, or green ribbon based on the number of points their team has earned. Volunteers from area businesses join with members of the community to ask questions and keep score.

When the community, schools, parents and businesses come together, EVERYONE WINS!

In 2003 five schools in the West Region of the School District of Philadelphia and schools in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, in collaboration with PHILADELPHIA READS, started what was to become a large city wide reading competition.

In 2005 the Free Library of Philadelphia joined with PHILADELPHIA READS, the School District of Philadelphia and the Archdiocese of Philadelphia to expand the Reading Olympics to the entire city. That year 84 teams of 4th-6th graders from all over the city came together to read and answer questions about the 20 books they had read.

In 2009 the Philadelphia Reading Olympics experienced tremendous growth. The Mayor’s Office of Education joined as a coordinating partner and Middle School teams competed for the first time.

The Philadelphia Reading Olympics continues to grow. In 2014, 151 teams, made up of 1766 students in grades 4-8, representing 88 schools and organizations from all over the city of Philadelphia competed at area colleges and universities.