We believe that literacy is a human right.

We believe that all children deserve to learn how to read and that literacy is a human right. We reflect the urgency of this issue in our mission and core values.

Our Mission

The Literacy Lab’s mission is to provide children from low-income families with individualized reading instruction to improve their literacy skills, leading to greater success in school and increased opportunities in life.

The Literacy Lab serves children from age three through grade three. We partner with school districts to help close the literacy gap largely by embedding full-time, rigorously-trained tutors in early childhood centers and elementary schools.


The Literacy Lab was co-founded by Tom Dillon and Ashley Johnson in 2009 in response to the challenges that Ashley saw in her own classroom as a high school special education teacher for District of Columbia Public Schools. The Literacy Lab began by offering after-school reading tutoring to children in Washington, DC and Alexandria, VA. In 2012 The Literacy Lab was selected as a national replication partner for the Reading Corps model. Through this partnership, The Literacy Lab has dramatically increased its reach by implementing a sustainable, research- and evidence-based early literacy intervention model in partnership with school districts.

Core Values

We believe that all children deserve to learn how to read and that literacy is a human right. We reflect the urgency of this issue by operating with the following core values:

Going above and beyond

We work hard to get things right. We take initiative, pursue opportunities, and do not let things fall through the cracks. We are responsive and work with urgency.


Relationships are critical to our success. We build strong relationships with the people with whom we work and with the communities we serve. We are proactive and anticipate what others need.

Careful use of resources

We do the most with the least by planning ahead, being resourceful, and being organized.


We are persistent in pursuit of our mission. We devote energy to what works, and we constantly problem solve to improve our results. We believe a solution is within our reach, and we communicate optimism in our work.

Giving the best to those who need it most

We respect our partners and those we serve by being professional, prepared, and having a strong sense of responsibility.

Give your best to those who need it most.

Make a difference for a child.
Apply to become a Literacy Lab tutor today!