More than a laundromat, this South Memphis center strengthens community and childhood literacy

Porter-Leath is passionate about providing literacy connections for children and their caregivers. The following article originally appeared Tuesday, August, 7, 2018 at


While caregivers wash clothes at the Social Suds Resource Center laundromat, children can interact with the facility's Pinwheel Playroom where they can play, read, and take home books provided by Porter-Leath's Books from Birth program. 

By the third grade, less than 25 percent of Memphis children are reading at grade level, and many of these children live in low-resource neighborhoods where they have limited access to convenient and no-cost places to read and play. 

By meeting people where they are, the Pinwheel Playroom creates easy opportunities for families to read together. 

In September, The Urban Child Institute will open the city's second Pinwheel Playroom, to be located at the Broad Street Christ Community Health Clinic. They are seeking recommendations for two more locations. 

Support for this story was provided in part by the Urban Child Institute; it is one article in a series highlighting the impact and importance of early childhood education. The Urban Child Institute focuses its grant making, advocacy and community support on kindergarten readiness and third grade literacy in an effort to improve the education, health and well-being of children and families in Shelby County.