The Philadelphia READS Reading Olympics is a city-wide collaborative reading competition that aims to foster a love of reading, develop teamwork skills, and bring students from different parts of the city together.

 Reading Olympics 

What It Is

The Philadelphia READS Reading Olympics is the City’s largest annual reading competition, engaging up to 2000 students from 4th-8th grade classes from Philadelphia’s public, parochial, charter, independent and after school programs.  In May the teams come together at universities around the city for a fun, friendly competition!

How It Works

Participating students read an extensive book list and practice working together as a team to prepare for the big day.  This collaboration creates a unique learning experience where the literacy, competitive and interpersonal skills of each child grows significantly by striving collectively toward a common goal. And, by the end of the competition, each student will have read quality literature and discussed important themes, plot twists, and characters. In addition to improving literacy skills, our goal is organically foster a love of reading in each student that will be the foundation for their current and future success! 

New this year:  Junior Reading Olympics!

Philadelphia READS, in partnership with the Read by 4th Campaign, is thrilled to be able to extend our Reading Olympics program to younger students this year with the pilot of our Junior Reading Olympics program!  During this pilot year, we will begin with three 3rd grade teams.  Thanks to community donations, First Book, and Read by 4th, each student will receive a brand new copy of every book on the reading list, which they will be able to take home to build their own home library!  Prepped with activity packets and supported by the Philadelphia READS staff, Junior Reading Olympics Coaches will guide book discussions to increase engagement from each member of the team.  Stay tuned!


Due to the ongoing impact of COVID-19, the 2020 Reading Olympics has been cancelled. Please refer to the website below for news.

Intermediate Book List Middle School Book List


Every year around 2,000 students sign up and train for many months to prepare for the Reading Olympics competitions that occur in May. In order to support these 2,000 students as they compete we need an army of volunteers. 

What’s my role:

As a volunteer you will be asked to either be a moderator (asking the questions), a scorekeeper (keeping score), or support staff. Don’t worry, all the questions and answers are provided for you! There will be training at the site on the morning of the event. We guarantee that you’ll have fun as you help to make this rewarding activity a success.

What are the logistics?

  • There are 7 different competitions in the month of May. You can volunteer for one or all of them. Dates are listed below. 

  • We ask that you arrive at 8:15 a.m. for training & light breakfast.

  • Your responsibilities conclude around noon, but you are more than welcome to stay for the closing ceremony!            

To Register a Team

We will open registration for the 2020 Reading Olympics in November 2019. Check back for more details at the beginning of the 2019-2020 school year. We have a capacity cap of 150 teams and spots fill up quickly so we recommend registering as early as you are able. Your team is not registered until we have received your online application, completed contract and registration fee. 

Become A Sponsor

Sponsorships are needed to cover the cost of hosting a city-wide event of this scale!  As a sponsor, your company will benefit from being publicly known as an organization that values quality education for children and invests in the future of our great city.  In addition, your company can optimize the benefit gained from exposure through various year-round Philadelphia READS publicity and promotional efforts by selecting one of seven different levels of sponsorship that best fits your organization’s goals, marketing objectives, and budget.

Thank you to our

2019 Reading Olympics Sponsors

Bronze Medal Sponsor

Christian R. & Mary F. Lindback Foundation

Children's Hospital of Philadelphia

Community Supporters

Dechert, LLP

Henrietta Tower Wurts Memorial

Pepper Hamilton, LLP

The Free Library of Philadelphia Foundation

Books Provided By
Eagles Charitable Foundation
Team First Book Philadelphia


Robbie Shell Family

St. Clair CPA Solutions

Gift Bag Sponsor

Beneficial Bank

Design Sponsor

newkirk communications, inc.

2019 Junior Reading Olympics Partner

Read by 4th

2019 Premier Partner

Reading Recycled

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