"Stories are more than a gentle escape. They are a life raft."
– Pam Allyn
LitWorld was founded in 2007 after Pam Allyn, literacy educator and author, visited Kibera, an area of extreme poverty in Nairobi, Kenya. There, she experienced the urgent desire children had to read, write and share their stories, and the barriers that stood in their way.
Literacy is not a gift given just to some lucky ones, it is a foundational human right that brings joy, economic independence, gender equity and a pathway out of poverty.
Inspired after her first visit to Kibera, Pam returned to New York and mobilized a group of friends and leaders to join her in building a new movement founded on this belief. They set out to create a community-based approach to programs and training that would lead to transformational literacy defined by dreams that can come true.
Over the next five years, LitWorld developed and launched the programs that stand today as the organization's core models: LitClubs, LitCamps, and World Read Aloud Day. The LitClub model of in-depth, out-of-school self-empowerment and literacy programming has allowed us to bring our innovative methods to communities across the world. LitCamp redefines summer learning through innovative, research-based reading and writing lessons with an engaging and interactive summer camp approach that reduces the “summer slide.” World Read Aloud Day calls global attention to the importance of reading aloud, sharing stories, and the idea of literacy as a human right by bringing communities together across the world to read aloud and change the world.
In 2017, Dorothy Lee, formerly Creative Director and longtime LitWorld leader, became LitWorld's Executive Director to lead LitWorld into its second decade. Pam Allyn continues to be closely involved in the work and vision for the future in her role as Founder. Read more.
From around the world, children’s stories of learning, growth, and achievement pour in every day. From the girl in Kenya who is no longer afraid to raise her hand and speak up in school to the boy in India who now wants to grow up to help people to the young woman in New York City who is the first in her family to go to college: This is the LitWorld story.