To empower families from all economic and cultural backgrounds to engage very young children in joyful reading and conversations that pave the way for lifelong learning.


To foster school-readiness and close achievement and opportunity gaps by (1) putting a critical mass of content-rich literature into the hands of families in their homes, and (2) coaching caregivers in how to develop young children’s capacity for learning through the tried-and-true method of reading with them and responding to their ideas.


Alice Letvin and Carolyn Saper each has 30+ years of experience in publishing, urban education, and curriculum development and assessment. As colleagues, they led the creation of the Junior Great Books Curriculum for grades PK–12—a widely recognized exemplary program that supports all students in interpreting and writing about rewarding texts.

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Carolyn is responsible for creating strategic partnerships; overseeing software and content development, including train-the-trainer modules; and managing external communications. Before cofounding ReadAskChat she was an early-education teacher, editorial director of the Great Books Foundation, and senior editor of curriculum and assessment for the University of Chicago Urban Education Institute. She was a consultant in the design of the American Writers Museum Children’s Gallery. She holds an AB in English literature and a MST in curriculum and instruction from the University of Chicago.




Alice is Principal Investigator of ReadAskChat’s National Science Foundation grant. She is responsible for legal and financial operations; art direction; and leading the development of ReadAskChat for English Learners. Before cofounding ReadAskChat she was president of the Great Books Foundation, and editorial director of Cricket Media, publisher of award-winning arts and sciences magazines for preschoolers and older children. She holds a PhD in comparative literature from Washington University in St. Louis.

Click here to read an interview with Carolyn and Alice by the iMums.


Barbara T. Bowman, MA
Harris Professor of Child Development; Cofounder, Erikson Institute

Tanika Island Childress
Director, University of Chicago Urban Teacher Education Program

Deborah Daro, PhD
Senior Research Fellow, Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago

Edwin Eisendrath, MAT
Huron Consulting Group

Adam Gerber, PhD
Lecturer, Computer Science University of Chicago

Deborah Hagman-Shannon, PhD
Past Executive Director, Chicago Child Care Society

Nancy Halbeck, MA
Educational Psychologist

Marvin Hoffman, PhD
Founding Director, University of Chicago Charter School-NKO Campus

Hilary Hodge
Associate Vice Chancellor, Adult Education City Colleges of Chicago

Jing Jing Hsee
Research Analyst

Kavita Kapadia Matsko, PhD
Associate Professor, National-Louis University 

Harriet Meyer
Past President, Ounce of Prevention Fund

Linda Rahm, PhD
Children’s Literature Specialist

Lauren Rich, PhD
Senior Researcher, Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago

Pearl Rieger, MA
Pediatric Neuropsychologist

Anne Rogers, PhD
Associate Professor, Computer Science, University of Chicago

Donna Seaman
American Library Association

Julie Spielberger, PhD
Research Fellow, Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago

Dana Suskind, MD
University of Chicago Hospitals, Founder, Thirty Million Words Project

Lisa V. Vahey, MSEd
Early Childhood Education Consultant

Lisa J. Walker, PhD
University of Illinois-Chicago

Amy White, MFA
Head Librarian, Lisbon (Iowa) Public Library


Artists represented in the ReadAskChat library and on this website are:

Clare Beaton (Meow, Eek, Bzzz)
Dorothy Donohue (Duck’s Ditty)
Karen Dugan (Maria’s Special Leaf; Maria’s Garden)
April Dukes (The Man in the Moon)
Susan Eaddy (Happy Birthday; Pat-a- Cake)
Stephanie Gragin (The Swing; Holiday I Spy)
Jon Goodell (Daytime and Nighttime; Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter; Brush, Curley, Brush!; Naughty or Nice?)
Will Hillenbrand (Kitchen Drums)
Neesha Hudson (Doggy-Baby Day)
Constanze von Kitzing (Little Bunny)
Brian Lies (Big, Bigger, Just My Size; Froggy’s Bath Time)

Christopher Lyles (Light of Mine)
Mati McDonough (There Once Were Three Birds in a Tree)
Eva Montanari (The Wind)
Laura Montenegro (I Am a Snowflake)
Cindy Revell (Clap Your Hands)
Vera Rosenberry (Hiding)
Isabel Roxas (Follow the Leader)
John Sandford (Itsy Bitsy Spider)
Hyewon Yum (Mario’s Trucks; What’s On Your Mind, Teddy?)
Jaime Zollars (Roly-Poly Play)


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