An easy and effective way for families to help children learn through weekly text messages.

We believe every child in our area deserves an equal opportunity to learn and succeed in school. Classroom learning is critical, of course, but parents and families play an equally important role in children’s development. All parents want their children to succeed – but many run out of ideas. 

That’s why we’re launching Ready4K, a text message information service that shares tips for local families to use to help their kids grow and learn.  


What is Ready4K?

Ready4K is a free and easy service offered by United Way of Greater Richmond & PetersburgReady4K sends families three text messages per week. Each week, participants will receive age-appropriate facts, easy tips and opportunities for growth to boost their child’s learning by building on existing family routines. This program uses accessible technology to give families new and different ideas for engaging with their children’s learning at home. Ready4k also connects families with local community supports that can offer help in difficult situations. 

Ready4K is:

  • Equitable: Ready4K’s evidence-based curriculum is delivered via text messages, the only technology to reach 97% of families. Families can choose to receive messages in Spanish, Arabic  Chinese, Vietnamese or English. 
  • Accessible: Ready4K sends families three messages per week with fun facts and easy tips for promoting their kids’ development through daily activities.
  • Differentiated: Ready4K’s curriculum is developed by educational researchers to support children ages 0-9.
  • Effective: Ready4K is proven to increase family engagement and accelerate literacy outcomes by two to three months over a school year. 


Ready4K delivers information via text messages in order to be as accessible and equitable as possible.  

  • 2019 Pew Research Center report found that 96% of Americans have a cell phone, with the proportion jumping to 99% for people ages 18 to 49. 
  • 98% of cell phone owners send and receive text messages. 
  • 98% open rate for text messages (vs. 26% for email). 
  • Traditionally under-served adults text with the highest frequency. 

Who is Ready4K for?

READY4K is free and available to any family in the greater Richmond and Petersburg region. The tips and information available through Ready 4K are intended for children age 0-9. Messages are customized for each family based on their children’s date of birth. Ready4K even customizes the messages for each child in your family. 

How does Ready4K fit into United Way’s Steps to Success?

It is critical that students hit certain milestones in order to stay on track and succeed in school. READY4K helps families ensure their children are on track to be ready for kindergarten and reading at grade-level by third grade 


View the 2021-2022 Impact Summary

For Educators

We are happy to help facilitate Ready4K group sign-ups for your district, school or classroom. Contact Emily Watkins ( for more information.


Emily Watkins
Director of Community Impact

Download the Ready4K informational flyer in English and in Spanish (Español).