SO YOU’RE WONDERING WHY WE’RE HERE….

WE’RE GLAD YOU ASKED!

Founded in 2010, Traveling Stories wanted to provide a program for at-risk kids that would not only help them learn to read, but also help them fall in love with reading. In 2011, Traveling Stories created the StoryTent: a mobile literacy program that would provide one-on-one reading support and motivational incentives to kids. For every book read, kids earn a Book Buck, which can be redeemed for prizes. This keeps the kids excited and motivated to learn, as well as teaches them money management skills.

We serve kids between the ages of 2 and 12 years old.  From birth until 3rd grade, kids are learning to read, but from 4th grade on, kids are reading to learn. Kids in low-income households who can’t read proficiently by 4th grade are 15 times more likely to drop out of school. Sadly, in the U.S., 82% of disadvantaged kids can’t read at grade level.  We currently serve over 3,000 local kids a year by our weekly programs in El Cajon and City Heights.

TRAVELING STORIES MISSION

Our mission is to empower kids to outsmart poverty by providing the literacy and money management skills they need to become productive members of society.

We believe that books are a necessity, not a luxury. The ability to read and write is a human right. We are not afraid to look foolish in our effort to outsmart poverty. We believe there is more than one kind of poverty and more than one kind of hunger. It is important to feed a child’s stomach, but we must not forget their mind and imagination.

Through our mobile StoryTent program we teach kids money management skills and help them fall in love with reading by the 4th grade. At the StoryTents, kids pick out books that interest them and read out loud with a volunteer. Volunteers are an integral part of our mission; without them, the kids wouldn’t be able to actually practice and improve their reading skills. Not only is our mission to bridge poverty gaps through the means of literacy, but also to build up community through serving those around us in need.

3 kids cropped with books

TRAVELING STORIES SUCCESS STORIES

EL CAJON STORYTENT READER TURNED VOLUNTEER

Mohammad

Mohammad admits that before he found the StoryTent he hated reading. Now, because of Traveling Stories, he loves reading and is writing his own book. Mohammad says that his grades in school started going up when he started reading for fun. Now a high school student, he volunteers at the StoryTent to help younger kids benefit from the program in the same way he did. Listen to Mohammad’s radio interview with the San Diego Union Tribune HERE! 

EL CAJON STORYTENT SUCCESSFUL READERS

Aleen and Kareen 

When we first met Aleen and Kareen, they communicated with grunts. At four-years-old, they didn’t speak. Their mom was worried. After visiting the StoryTent every week for several months, the girls grew more confident and started speaking. Now, they greet new readers and explain how the program works. They’ve identified favorite books and are working to read on their own.

Abdihamid

Abdihamid was 9 years old when he first visited the StoryTent. He couldn’t read and was too embarrassed to ask for help. Motivated by the prizes, he continued to visit often. To earn Book Bucks he had to read with a volunteer. Eventually, this one-on-one support helped Abdihamid learn how to read on his own. He’s now confidently reading chapter books and earning prizes worth over $50 Book Bucks.

Write Yourself Into the Story:

Give a Child the Chance to Fall in Love with Reading Today

WHY TRAVELING STORIES IS UNIQUE

We emphasize the joy of reading.

We let readers select books that interest them.

We offer financial rewards for reading.

We meet readers in their communities.

We engage the entire family.

THE VALUES THAT DRIVE US

Creativity

We use fresh approaches to promote literacy and inspire a love of reading. Never settling on our first idea we continuously evaluate our programs. We are not afraid to take risks and make mistakes in pursuing innovative solutions to reduce illiteracy and poverty.

Enjoyment

Books open up new horizons that take us on adventures of endless fun and fulfillment. Through our programs and libraries, we share our passion for reading. We carry this spirit into our work and relationships.

Empowerment

We believe that literacy empowers people to find their own solutions to social and economic challenges. With this, we design programs that teach critical thinking and self-confidence. We thrive to build a community of learners who break cycles of poverty and injustice.

Service

We embrace diversity and build relationships with flexibility and respect. Our partnerships are built upon reciprocity and the recognition that we are always learning from each other enabling us to transform lives by defeating economic and intellectual poverty.

Transparency

We are committed to open communication and expressing our beliefs while respecting the opinions of others. We practice transparency in developing and operating our libraries and programs. We work hard to be congruent in all we say and do.

5 EYE-OPENING ECONOMIC IMPACTS ON LITERACY STATS

0%
of Low-Income Children Are Not Proficient Readers
0%
of Low-Income Children Do Not Have Books at Home
0%
of American Children Are Not Proficient Readers by the 3rd Grade
0X
More Likely to Not Graduate if Not Proficient Readers by 3rd Grade
0%
of American Jobs are Ineligible to High School Dropouts

Traveling Stories helps kids in the U.S. develop strong literacy skills, confidence in their ability to read out loud and a love for reading!

50% of adults in America cannot read a book written at an eighth grade level
— National Center for Adult Literacy