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a collaboration with reading quest

Reading is Magic (RIM) is a free summer and afterschool reading program for 2nd to 4th grade students in the Santa Fe Public Schools. It is a collaboration between our school and Reading Quest, a nonprofit organization dedicated to children’s literacy. Rayna Dineen, Reading Quest’s founder and executive director, started Reading is Magic when she was the principal of Santa Fe School for the Arts & Sciences. Every Wednesday, we pick up students in our school bus from three nearby schools – Sweeney Elementary, Cesar Chavez, and Ramirez Thomas. The after school program is led by teachers at our school, and our own Middle School students are trained to be reading tutors.

Heading into its 8th year, Reading is Magic has had consistent and remarkable outcomes – students gained on average a grade level’s growth after the two-week summer interventions and 1 year and 6 months of growth after the 9-month after school intervention.



We understand that the problem of low literacy is an adaptive problem. It is complex, and the systemic answers are not completely clear. Even if they were, no single organization has the resources or the authority to bring about the systemic changes needed to turn the curve on 3rd grade reading proficiency.

In the spirit of modeling service and providing meaningful service opportunities for our students, Santa Fe School for the Arts & Sciences is committed to Reading is Magic and our role in advancing a collective impact solution to the problem of low literacy in our community.

Reading is Magic is a part of Opportunity Santa Fe’s Ready to Read Initiative, a collaboration co-chaired by Amy Miller, Executive Director of The May Center for Learning, and Perli Cunanan, Executive Director of Santa Fe School for Arts & Sciences. Key partners include Santa Fe Public Schools, May Center for Learning, Santa Fe School for the Arts & Sciences, Reading Quest, Santa Fe Literacy Volunteers, and Santa Fe Public Libraries.

After years of coordinating and conducting Reading is Magic camps as a volunteer and employee of Santa Fe School for the Arts & Sciences, Dineen is expanding the success of the Reading is Magic program to reach more students. Our school is excited to see Reading Quest plant the seeds of Reading is Magic’s success all over Santa Fe. Arts & Sciences will continue to run Reading is Magic as a lab school on our campus, while Reading Quest grows and reaches more students around the city.

For more information, please call Rayna Dineen at 920-9709 or Perli Cunanan at 438-8585 or perli@santafeschool.org


At Santa Fe School for the Arts & Sciences, students, families and teachers value service as a core value. Service is how we have been able to build and sustain our school, becoming a joyful learning community where students become life-long learners. Reading is Magic evolved out of Hooked on Books, a middle school expedition community service project that involved bookshelves around our community and reading contests.

Reading is Magic offers our own Arts & Sciences students the opportunity to learn valuable skills as tutors and student assistant teachers. Middle School students, as well as Arts & Sciences alumni, are central to the program. Older peers help the younger kids discover the joy of reading! Over the years, some of our Reading is Magic alumni have been able to receive financial aid scholarships and attend our summer camps and regular school program.

In May 2017, the Reading is Magic students in the afterschool program wrote appreciations and reflections about their experience in the afterschool program.

Here are examples of what they shared:

“Before Reading is Magic, I hated reading. Now I enjoy reading. When I first started I was really behind, but now I am way ahead.”

“I appreciate my tutor Micah who is my best friend. He helped me out with new words and now I am getting better grades on my school work.”

“When I grow up I will be a book seller, and I will save money to buy a nice home for me and my family and I will buy books for Reading is Magic.”