Ride for Reading Brings Books to Underprivileged Kids

Looking for a Nashville nonprofit that provides books to kids in need? Read more about Ride for Reading, just one of several nonprofits we have featured on our blog.


Although National Reading Day (January 23) has passed, a Nashville area nonprofit helps children in low-income homes develop a lifelong love for reading all year long. Ride for Reading, launched in 2008, is what happens when you bring together a group of passionate citizens who also happen to be cycling enthusiasts and book lovers.

Ride for Reading was founded by a dedicated and determined first year 4th grade teacher and avid cyclist, Mathew Portell. The organization’s mission is simple, but impactful — distribute books via bicycle to children who aren’t fortunate enough to have their own books at home. Since its founding, Ride for Reading has donated more than 300,000 books to children of low income families and continues to work towards supplying as many books as possible to boost reading skills among children. Research shows that only 1 in 300 children in poverty have age appropriate books. According to the National Education Association, both not having access to books at home and growing up where little attention is given to reading books are contributing factors to low-income children having lower reading scores than their middle- or high-income peers.

The organization recently appointed Nashville cyclist and accountant Kenya Nelson Stevens as their new director to help oversee the expansion of current programs and to develop new ones. Ride for Reading launched its second location in San Antonio in January.

“I am honored and excited for the opportunity to combine my love for reading and passion for fitness to support Ride for Reading’s growth and expansion,” says Kenya.

The help of volunteers and donations are critical to ensure Ride for Reading continue its mission of providing books to children in low-income households. Their spring fundraiser, the 8th Annual Ride For Reading Acoustic Benefit Concert, takes place Saturday, March 25 at 3rd & Lindsley in downtown Nashville. The benefit will feature an acoustic performance by Sean McConnell and The Sisterhood with Special Guest Seth Cook and is scheduled for 6 p.m. Tickets may be purchased online.

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