Together with friends and neighbors, Mt. Airy CDC is helping build a Literacy Rich Neighborhood in Germantown, PA.

Community Advisory Board Now Planning Additional Playful Learning Installations

Mt. Airy CDC is working with Germantown/Mt. Airy community members to help design, locate, and program new Playful Learning installations for families this year. 

Since 2020, Mt. Airy CDC has been participating in the Literacy Rich Neighborhood Initiative (LRNI), a program supported by a grant from the William Penn Foundation. LRNI helps to advance the goals of the citywide grade-level reading campaign, spearheaded by Read by 4th, to ensure that every child in Philadelphia is reading at, or above, grade level by the end of 3rd grade.

The mission of LRNI is to create multiple neighborhood opportunities for children and caregivers to engage together in meaningful literacy experiences. Based on initial input from the community, the organizing theme for the LRNI is “Neighborhood as Story.” 

The first of the three installations is The Nest (pictured below), a community reading installation that opened last summer on the grounds of Cliveden. 

In-person meetings of the Community Advisory Board are held once a month in the evenings and include dinner and activities for children. Would you like to participate? Contact Roberta Frempong: 215.990.1792 or

New Community Liaison

Germantown resident Cyn King has been hired as our new Community Liaison to help engage the community with designing and planning literacy-themed playful learning installations.

Cyn is a doula, birth educator, and business owner who is committed to creating and maintaining meaningful relationships throughout the community and online. From sharing time to knowledge and resources, Cyn is passionate about the enrichment of the neighborhood through literacy and interactive learning and believes one of the biggest factors in the success of this project is inclusion. Cyn says, “With involvement from the community, I am confident that we can encourage Germantown/Mt. Airy families to become ‘literacy-rich.'”

The Community Reading Nest

We designed and built a literacy installation for children and their caregivers, called “The Nest.” Designed and fabricated to serve local families, the Nest will inspire and support meaningful literacy experiences between children, their families, and their caregivers.

It is a safe and inviting place to share stories, to read and be read to, to play with words, to write and tell stories, and generally to delight in language.

Read the press release

Our Story

Our free, outdoor reading camp on Holman Field in Germantown (near Historic Johnson House) started out as an idea at another Play Street site in Germantown, where a staff member spent the summer reading books to children every day and noticed a lot of kids were home without the benefit of a summer camp experience—even though there was a city summer camp in walking distance nearby. Block Captain Muriel Brown’s invitation to read to children that summer was the inspiration for our insight to meet children and families where they are by creating our Holman Field Summer Reading Camp—a free, outdoor, walk-in summer reading camp. Our reading camp serves K-3 students and is staffed by retired educators, middle-school/high school peer-mentors, and longtime residents of the neighborhood!

Literacy Rich Neighborhood

In a little corner of historic Germantown, something exciting and promising is brewing, thanks to a small group of committed neighbors, families, organizations: We’re creating our very own Literacy Rich Neighborhood.

We’re part of the citywide grade-level reading campaign spearheaded by Read by 4th. Our ambitious but doable goal? To get every child in Philadelphia reading at or above grade level by the end of 3rd grade.

 We’re looking for passionate, literacy-minded folk interested in learning more about our goals and activities, getting involved, and supporting innovative initiatives like Reading Captains, Reading Spaces Everywhere, and a labor of love close to our heart—a little-summer-camp-that-could of sorts—Holman Field Reading Camp, our flagship program, a summer outdoor reading camp and city lunchsite that’s easy-to-walk-to and free.

 With funding from William Penn Foundation, we’re transforming public spaces through the lens of playful learning, looking for hosts and locations for outdoor, play-focused installations, a Mural Arts’ MURAL and billboard, and more!

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