Readers build a better world

aka Worldreader   |   San Francisco, CA   |


Founded in 2010, Worldreader works globally with partners to support vulnerable and underserved communities with digital reading solutions that help improve learning outcomes, workforce readiness, and gender equity.

Ruling year info



Mrs. Rebecca Chandler-Leege

Main address

1211 Folsom Street 4th Floor

San Francisco, CA 94103 USA

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NTEE code info

Education N.E.C. (B99)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Literacy is the fundamental building block of education; it is a core foundational skill needed for personal, academic, and economic success. But for millions of children around the world, access to quality literacy resources, especially books, presents a seemingly intractable problem. The development of proper reading skills makes a demonstrable difference in terms of a person’s lifelong prospects. Whether for economic opportunity, better health, or personal/professional goals, reading serves as one of the most important factors to ensure a person has a chance for a better life. With over 1 billion children currently out of school due to the COVID-19 crisis, digital reading solutions have become even more critical as students around the world continue to learn in a remote environment.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Youth Reading

Youth read digital books using our Worldreader Open Library and BookSmart phone apps on devices they already own. Lifelong Reading seeks to develop a habit of reading to increase the knowledge and competencies of readers, as well as promotes the impact, availability, and joy of digital reading to wide audiences. Our projects focus on gender, youth and adult literacy.

Population(s) Served
Women and girls

Our school and at-home reading programs provide children with digital reading applications that have stories and textbooks tailored to the age, language, and cultural context of students. As part of the program, we also provide educators with the tools to foster cultures of learning in the classroom and beyond.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

Through this program Worldreader seeks to empower caregivers and teachers to read books to young children using Worldreader content and technology. Age appropriate stories are provided to parents, caregivers and teachers to promote improved language/cognitive development, school readiness and positive parent/caregiver interaction. This program leverages content, behavior change campaigns, technology and training to reach children at the household, community and institutional levels.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

Where we work


Innovations in Reading Award 2013

National Book Foundation

Innovation of Year 2017

National Technology Awards

Learning and Education Winner 2017

Pearson India

Charity of the Year 2017

London Bookfar

Social Enterprise Global Award Winner 2016


Social Entrepreneurs of the Year 2016

World Economic Forum

Best Mobile Innovation for Education Award 2016

Glomo Awards

Microsoft Education Awards 2014

Tech Awards

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of readers on Worldreader apps or devices(cumulative readers since 2010)

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success


Context Notes

Worldreader collects data on the number of readers, books distributed, and other metrics on a daily basis to gain valuable insights into how best to serve our readers.

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Worldreader has five 2020-2025 impact goals:
1. Children have improved school readiness.
2. School students improve their learning and educational outcomes.
3. Young people have greater work readiness and healthier lives.
4. Children and youth, particularly women, girls, learners in emergency settings, and learners with disabilities, face fewer barriers to equitable and inclusive learning.
5. Educators use data-powered insights for informed decision-making in improved reading programs globally.

In this five-year period, Worldreader expects to impact a cumulative 25 million readers around the world who lack the resources and support to achieve their potential. Worldreader’s theory of change begins with reaching these beneficiaries through five focus areas: 1) Pre-Primary School; 2) Early Grade Reading; 3) Adolescent and Youth Life Skills; 4) Equitable and Inclusive Access to Learning; and 5) Measurement Science. When these areas are tapped into through Worldreader’s proven set of approaches, people begin reading regularly.

Over the past ten years, Worldreader has worked persistently in utilizing technology to reach people in developing countries where books are scarce. Worldreader’s theory of change links broad access to books and targeted activities that promote reading, thereby fostering stronger reading cultures, and, ultimately, improved education, health, and prosperity outcomes. Specifically, Worldreader starts by providing access to high-quality, locally-relevant digital books via contextually-appropriate devices, then seeks to trigger wide-scale behavior change with the goal of normalizing digital reading in countries where reading has traditionally been reserved for an elite few. From production through consumption, Worldreader is driving the adoption of digital reading, sustained through local publishers, institutions, and individuals. Worldreader is moving strategically toward its five-year impact goals with a focus on scalability. Beginning with smaller-scale pilot projects allows Worldreader to fine-tune an intervention and ensure buy-in from implementation partners before growing to larger-scale or expanding geographically.

The increasing ubiquity and diminishing costs of digital technology enable us to solve these problems in a simple and straightforward way. Wherever possible, we build on digital platforms and mobile connectivity in the developing world to make our books available to children and families who need them the most.

We saw that cell phones were widely prevalent in developing countries so we created our Worldreader mobile library app that allows anyone, anywhere to access the Worldreader digital library from any connected mobile phone or tablet. Our publishing team works hard to optimize titles for the smallest screen sizes.

For pre-primary and primary-aged children, Worldreader offers the BookSmart app. Like the Worldreader app, it is easily accessible from mobile phones and tablets. The app features a library of children’s books in categories including learning concepts, health and wellbeing, nature and science, and more. Books are available in Arabic, English, Hindi, and Spanish. It is designed to be used in two ways: 1) by teachers in schools and by other community-based education programs as part of their established curriculum (with Worldreader providing technical and pedological training to support them) and 2) by children and their families at home. Worldreader's digital reading programs work best when they are embraced at the community level, and BookSmart is an exciting new way we are engaging with communities across the world.

We actively curate books by Global South-based authors for our library. The more relevant and engaging a student's first reads are, the more likely she is to continue learning and reading throughout her life. We also help these authors and publishers translate and digitize their titles and expand their audiences. We round out our library with wonderful titles donated by the world's top trade and textbook publishers.

Worldreader has staff in San Francisco; Barcelona; Accra, Ghana; Nairobi, Kenya; London, UK; Amman, Jordan; and Delhi, India. We manage logistics and support in partnership with local governments, school systems, and related businesses.

An important part of our work is monitoring and evaluation. We conduct research on literacy, mobile reading, and digital publishing. We examine our data for insights and adapt as needed.

In its first two years of programming (2010-2012), Worldreader impacted over 330,000 children, youth, and families. As of 2021, Worldreader’s impact has grown to 18 million with dozens of digital reading programs across the Global South. Worldreader now implements behavior change campaigns to ensure strong uptake of reading and has the capacity to measure impact and feed it back to education stakeholders for systems-level improvement. Since Worldreader’s home-based program Read to Kids launched in India and Jordan, over 200,000 families have benefited, and BookSmart recently launched on March 22nd with over 63,000 users. The positive outcomes of digital reading interventions are numerous, whether implemented at home or at school. The following are examples of positive outcomes that have been observed in Worldreader programs: (1) Significant improvements in mother tongue oral reading fluency and familiar word recognition; (2) Significant improvements in English reading skills; (3) Benefits to girls, including narrowing of educational and social gender gaps; (4) Higher teacher satisfaction rates and improved teacher retention; (5) Increased numbers of enrolled students and lower dropout rates; (6) Greater student participation in reading activities.



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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.


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Connect with nonprofit leaders


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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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Board of directors
as of 08/18/2023
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Mr. Peter Spiro

Social Endeavors Foundation

Charles Brighton


Colin McElwee

David Risher

Harrison Miller

Summit Partners

Kartik Raghavan

Two Sigma

Sue Sanderson

Sanderson Family Foundation

Terry Atkinson

Morgan Stanley

Peter Spiro

Microsoft Technical Fellow

Chris Capossela


Elizabeth Chandler


Elizabeth Dollar

Moss Adams LLP

Prasanna Krishnan


Kate James


Michael C Jensen

Juno Therapeutics and Umoja Biopharma

Ericka Locke

Kaphan Foundation

Alison Rich

Penguin Random House

Dana Reid

Davis Wright Tremaine LLP

Gretchen Sorensen

Sorensen Group

Kedest Tesfagiorgis

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? No