In 2003 five schools in the West Region of the School District of Philadelphia and schools in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, in collaboration with PHILADELPHIA READS, started what was to become a large city wide reading competition.
In 2005 the Free Library of Philadelphia joined with PHILADELPHIA READS, the School District of Philadelphia and the Archdiocese of Philadelphia to expand the Reading Olympics to the entire city. That year 84 teams of 4th-6th graders from all over the city came together to read and answer questions about the 20 books they had read.
In 2009 the Philadelphia Reading Olympics experienced tremendous growth. The Mayor’s Office of Education joined as a coordinating partner and Middle School teams competed for the first time.
The Philadelphia Reading Olympics continues to grow. In 2013, 155 teams, made up of 1649 students in grades 4-8, representing 86 schools and organizations from all over the city of Philadelphia competed at area colleges and universities.