What we do

Building a vibrant reading community

Our strength is in our connections. Thanks to our relationships with educators, families and community service providers, our programs and initiatives are being delivered directly to children where they learn and play – at home, at school and in the community.

Together, we provide children with the essentials to become thriving readers.

Opportunities to be immersed in a culture of reading

How Avery learned to love reading

Avery wasn’t a big fan of reading until a Calgary Reads volunteer helped her get better at it and see how magical books can be. Now Avery thinks books are “amazing things.”

Access to books they can keep


The average number of hours children spend in school every year. They spend 7,800 hours outside school.


Support from adults with the will and the skill to help them

“The support from Calgary Reads is awesome. Students are reading
more. They are getting books at home. Teachers are better equipped to teach literacy.”

Calgary Catholic School District

Here is the complete list of our Community initiatives, School programs and Collective impact activities.

Children’s Reading Place

The Children’s Reading Place is a colourful, welcoming heritage house in Inglewood devoted to promoting the love of reading and early literacy. It’s an inspiring and inviting place where children can explore reading spaces, participate in fun literacy activities and choose a free book to take home and keep. We invite you to book your visit online. Learn more.

Calgary Reads Book Bank

Throughout the year, we accept new and gently used children’s book donations for families in need. The book bank relies on donations from the community to support our Children’s Reading Place and other programs across Calgary, including our partnership with the Calgary Food Bank. Learn more.

Home Reading

We have lots of ideas on ways you can inspire young readers at home and lots of literacy resources to share. You’re bound to find something to spark a child’s interest in reading for purpose and pleasure. Explore our resources.

Random Acts of Reading

We like to remind people that reading can happen anywhere. We also enjoy showing how much fun reading can be by organizing random acts in the community such as book drops, literacy scavenger hunts or placing readers in unexpected places where they read aloud. These activities are great opportunities for team volunteering.

CBC Calgary Reads Big Book Sale

Each May we hold our biggest fundraiser of the year and it’s a must for book lovers! There are many ways to participate: donate books to our book bank, volunteer your time, or drop by to shop for some great new books for your home library. Learn more.

Little Free Libraries

Creating a Little Free Library is a fun way to share your love of reading while building a sense of community. We’ll help you find the right building plan and even supply a few books to get you started. Build a Little Free Library.

Become a Well Travelled Reader this summer! Download our map featuring the Little Free Libraries of Inglewood and follow on bike or foot to discover them all.

Read with Me

We connect with young families through our partnerships with public health, home visitation and community support staff to nurture an early love of reading in babies and toddlers. We also provide free books to families who need extra support. Learn more.

The Big Book Club and Bookie Awards

This is a fun-filled fundraising event for passionate readers and literacy champions. Our Bookie Awards recognize literacy leadership and commitment to helping children read with confidence and joy – nominate someone today! Learn more.

wee read

This program is paused for the 2019-20 school year.  Our wee read program gets young students excited about reading. Trained volunteers go into member schools to read books aloud with students in kindergarten and grade one to strengthen their language and literacy skills. Learn more.

Read Up!

This program is paused for the 2019-20 school year. After grade three, it becomes increasingly difficult for students who’ve fallen behind in reading to achieve grade-level skills. Read Up! boosts confidence and joy in reading for grade one and two students at a critical time in their development to help all students become grade-level readers. Learn more.

Bring your students to the Children’s Reading Place

We have transformed a house in Inglewood, Calgary into a welcoming celebration of reading where school groups and families can experience the pleasure of curling up with a good book and be inspired to make time and space for reading in their busy lives. Learn more.


Read2gether pairs students in higher grades with younger children who read together as reading buddies. They read together, support each other and develop a love of books.

Reading Rally

This celebration of reading brings children, volunteer readers and great books together in one fun-filled event. Students receive the gift of reading aloud and even get some books to start their own libraries at home. Learn more.

Literacy in a Box

This is a resource for schools that can be used to plan fun and informative events to encourage families to read together. Each event has a different literacy-centred theme and provides inspiration, tips and resources to help build children’s reading skills. 

Professional Learning Opportunities

Educators will explore their own literacy experiences and be inspired by examining how the Children’s Reading Place invites them to think differently about how we can get books into the hands of students and make time and place for reading. Learn More.

First 2000 Days Network

The first 2000 days in a child’s life are a crucial time of rapid brain development, with lifelong impacts on learning, behavior and health. Calgary Reads is a member of the First 2000 Days Network, which focuses on linking, aligning and leveraging resources and programs designed to help all Alberta children learn, grow and thrive by age five. Learn more.

Campaign for Grade-Level Reading

This campaign builds awareness of how important it is to help children learn to read successfully by grade three. It focuses on three main areas: school readiness, summer slide and absenteeism. Calgary Reads is a lead organization in the Calgary coalition that runs the campaign, which is aimed at promoting initiatives that improve the lives of children by helping them become proficient in reading by grade three. Learn more.

Enough for All

Enough for All is Calgary’s community-driven poverty reduction strategy. Calgary Reads is a Champion for Change and is committed to advancing poverty reduction in Calgary. Learn more.