Business Number: 894318617RR0001

Our Mission

We help underprivileged young moms develop a practice of reading in order to access opportunities and achieve economic stability.


Every year in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), 36% of female teens living below the poverty line become pregnant.* Their education is often interrupted or terminated, reducing future earning power.  In turn, children born to teen moms are 50% more likely to drop out of school.**

Literature for Life’s flagship Women with Words Reading Circles are the only direct service program of their kind in Canada. Held at various partner shelters and youth and community centres in high-needs neighbourhoods across the GTA, young moms meet weekly to read and discuss novels with trained facilitators.

The Reading Circles improve participants’ literacy and self-confidence, and encourage the pursuit of higher education and meaningful employment. The programs also work to support the role of a mother as a child’s first teacher, and show participants how to model a love of reading and learning in the home, and promote a family culture of academic achievement.

Over 2200 young moms have now taken part in Literature for Life’s Reading Circles, and over 20,000 books have been distributed.

*Source: Public Health Agency of Canada**Source: Canadian Council on Social Development

What People Are Saying

"A mom is a child’s first teacher. Women with Words Reading Circles are for this generation and the next."

— Jo Altilia, Literature for Life Founding Executive Director

"Literature for Life helped me to break the cycle. I went back to school, and have a career in helping students be successful…"

— Anna, Literature for Life past participant

"Literature for Life does for me what I do for my son in many ways. The organization has become one of my chosen families."

— Huda Eldardiry, past participant

"Poorer children enter school having heard millions of words fewer than children from affluent homes, a disadvantage that can limit future educational success and employment opportunities. "

— Betty Hart and Todd Risle, Read More

"A child from a family rich in books is 19 percentage points more likely to complete university than a comparable child growing up without a home library. "

— MDR Evans, Sociologist, University of Nevada

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