Reading In Motion

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  • Investment to Date $1.9M
  • Students Served 3,875
  • Grantee Since 2013
  • View Website


Reading In Motion (RIM) improves literacy skills of low-income kindergarten and first-grade students through an arts-based curriculum. The organization trains school teachers to deliver its daily curriculum and provides ongoing coaching and data support in the classroom to ensure model fidelity and strong program outcomes.

Grantee Performance

Why We Invested

RIM provides a meaningful early literacy intervention that ensures students are on-track for success in reading by the end of first grade. Research shows that students who cannot read at grade level by third grade are four times less likely to graduate high school by 19 than children who read proficiently at that time. In 2018, 80 percent of RIM’s kindergarten and first-grade students were reading at or above grade level at the end of the school year, outpacing 57 percent of comparable students district-wide. The low cost of the organization’s teacher coaching model makes it highly scalable.

Looking Ahead

After a period of rapid expansion, RIM has struggled to continue to increase its service capacity in Chicago. In 2018, the organization served 3,875 students, down from 5,000 students in 2016. We believe this drop is, in part, due to unpredictable school budget changes from Chicago Public Schools. RIM has stabilized its capacity and is on track to serve 3,875 students again in 2019, but is still off track from its original 2019 goal of serving an additional 400 students. Student outcomes remain strong and RIM’s pursuit of national expansion with a site in Las Vegas has gone well to date. As RIM charts its course forward in Chicago, it is working to build the right management team to drive local impact. In addition, RIM board and leadership are revisiting their plans to determine how to best achieve continued impact in Chicago.

Our Impact

  • Board Placement: RIM added a new board member in 2016 through A Better Chicago’s board placement program.
  • Partnership Strategy: RIM worked with an independent consultant to better understand its addressable market and path to growth. A Better Chicago helped scope the projected, vetted consultants and covered 50 percent of the fees.
  • Marketing Strategy: RIMworked with a variety of consultants to develop a marketing campaign and update its website. A Better Chicago helped scope the project, vetted consultants and covered 75 percent of the fees.