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Better Basics


Better Basics’ mission is to make a positive difference in the lives of children and their families by advancing literacy through enrichment and intervention programs.

Who Do You Serve?

Better Basics serves elementary- and middle-school students in at-risk, high-need communities.

Brief History

In 1993, John Glasser founded Better Basics on the belief that poverty and illiteracy are so closely linked they are practically one and the same. Mr. Glasser also understood that because reading skills are the foundation of all learning, children who lack these vital skills have little hope of succeeding in school or life. The agency began with two dedicated employees offering a single tutoring program in one Birmingham City school. Today, we offer our full range of eight youth literacy programs with over 500 volunteers, 18 full and part-time staff members, and 51 seasonal employees.

Proudest Accomplishment

Better Basics is proud to serve more than 25,000 children each year through one of our eight literacy programs. We award almost 55,000 books to children in high-need communities each year, and Better Basics’ volunteers provide more than 9,000 hours of assistance to support our literacy programs.


Greatest Need

Better Basics is in need of additional funding to allow us to serve additional struggling readers through our literacy programs. We are also in need of high-quality, age-appropriate books to provide to elementary-age students.

Future Plans

Better Basics is always looking for new ways to help children improve their literacy skills. We are currently developing a new model for a summer reading program that we hope to pilot in the summer of 2015.

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