wits summer books

WITS Summer Books is an initiative that brings the WITS community together to raise funds to provide books for students' at-home libraries, teachers' classroom libraries, and the WITS program library. Teams of WITS supporters unite to raise money for a Chicago elementary school.

Join a team today and be part of fostering a love of reading for Chicago students!

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REACHING YOUR CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY GOALS

On April 24, WITS CEO Tena Latona will be joined by WITS Board Treasurer and Principal at KPMG LLP, Maria Arosteguy, and WITS Mentor and Vice President of Institutional Client Business at BlackRock, Phillip Williams, to discuss employee volunteer programs and corporate social responsibility goals.

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WITS SUMMER BOOKS

WITS Summer Books is an initiative that brings the WITS community together to raise funds to provide books for students' at-home libraries, teachers' classroom libraries, and the WITS program library. Teams of WITS supporters unite to raise money for a Chicago elementary school.

Join a team today and be part of fostering a love of reading for Chicago students!

Learn More
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wits mission, vision, & values

wits mission

WITS believes that literacy is the foundation on which all other learning develops. Our mission is to empower Chicago elementary students to discover themselves through reading while developing foundational literacy skills. We do this by creating community through literacy-based mentorship, enabling teachers to build diverse classroom libraries, and promoting book ownership at home.

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wits VIsion

WITS creates opportunities for every student in Chicago to be literate.

wits VALUES

  • Consistency
  • Community
  • Empowerment
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WHAT WE ARE ABOUT

WHO WE ARE

WITS is the largest and most consistent provider of no-cost literacy-based mentorship to Chicago Public Schools. WITS is comprised of over thirty Chicago elementary schools, over fifty Chicago companies, and a network of hundreds of students, teachers, and volunteers. 

WHAT WE DO

WITS programs help students develop a love of reading that guides them through the critical transition of learning-to-read to reading-to-learn. WITS offers a unique model, providing corporate engagement opportunities for Chicago companies through weekly literacy-based mentorship programs. Annually, WITS provides over 22,000 brand-new, culturally specific books to Chicago students' at-home libraries and Chicago teachers' classroom libraries.

WHY WE DO IT

  • Only twenty-six percent of Chicago Public School (CPS) students met or exceeded reading standards in 2023, down slightly from 2019.
  • Eighty-two percent of CPS elementary schools do not have a functioning library. 
  • Sixty-one percent of low-income families have no age-appropriate children’s books at home.
  • Eighty-nine percent of employees report increased job satisfaction when allowed to participate in a well-designed volunteer program.

OUR IMPACT

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students

WITS impacts the lives of over 3,200 students annually through mentorship and book-granting programs.

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schools

WITS programs are found in over thirty public schools in Chicago.

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mentors

WITS activates over 500 mentors annually in our corporate engagement programs and volunteer opportunities.

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grants

WITS offers 100 grants to Chicago Public School teachers annually, enabling them to purchase books for their classroom libraries that cater to their students' needs.

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companies

WITS facilitates literacy-based mentorship programs for over fifty Chicago companies, providing meaningful and consistent corporate engagement opportunities.

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64% of WITS students met or exceeded the national average for reading level growth in one year.
64%
At the end of the school year 83% of WITS students said they like reading books for fun, up from 65% at the beginning of the year.
83%
93% of WITS students reported feeling good or very good about spending time with their mentors
93%
100% of our partner teachers are satisfied with student participation in WITS.
100%
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WHY WITS PROGRAMS MATTER


WITSK students build book and print awareness including reading left to right and distinguishing between letters and words.

84%

Eighty-four percent of students agreed that participating in WITS made them want to read for fun more often. Reading for fun leads to more reading engagement and better reading comprehension.

100%

One hundred percent of our partner teachers are satisfied with student participation in WITS. Teachers value that our programs promote a love of reading and support social-emotional development in students.

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GET INVOLVED

Support WITS programs with a donation.
Become a program partner.
Learn more about the WITS Mission & Outcomes
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