Hamden, CT – a suburban site with strong ties to the adjacent urban community

In its second year with READy for the Grade (and only the first year in full operation), Hamden worked with 9 children at the Brundage Community Branch Library. Hamden Public Library’s Head of Children’s Services designed and oversaw the program, which she staffed with local tutors and a project coordinator.

Hamden ran 10 hours of onsite programming per week plus a 1-hour online family night each week for 6 weeks

Each child had the chance to take part in 66 hours of programming during summer 2021.

Every student received 1 free book at each in-person READy for the Grade session.

Each kit contained a different leveled reader book, treats (pencils, stickers, erasers), plus information about the READy of the Grade program.

100% of the 7 children tested at the start and end of the program maintained or improved their reading skills (as measured by the easyCBM assessment.)

What Hamden Parents Say

“I see an improvement in my son’s reading.”

“It was very important. Schools were not open properly due to Covid and my kindergarten girl was way behind in reading.”

“My daughter became more confident as she started reading aloud in class.”

A window into READy for the Grade • Hamden •

At the Brundage Community Branch Library, in a room brightened by natural light, fresh paint, and new furniture sized for young learners, students gather around a table. Today, they are learning about communications, and are fully engaged in an activity inspired by two books.

Listening to Delivering Mail, the children learned about the sequence of steps required to send a letter. In their group reading of Frog and Toad, they read a chapter in which a character mails a letter. Now, each child is busy writing a letter to another student (assigned by the teacher). They follow a strict format that includes a greeting (Dear Mike), and a sentence or two with kind adjectives (e.g. You painted a pretty picture today.). When they finish writing, each child addresses their letter, affixes a “stamp” and places the letter in the classroom mailbox.

With all the letters “mailed,” the lesson continues with discussions about older communication strategies (phones, faxes, newspapers, letters), newer strategies, (social media, texting, and direct messages), and assistive strategies, like Braille and Sign Language. Children listen to the teacher read, watch a short video, then read aloud. They even learn some basic ASL signs.

After an outdoor break, the children return and discover the mail is ready for pickup. One child serves as mail carrier. He delivers the letters, and each student takes turns reading the letter they received out loud. Each reader thanks the person who sent their letter. Everyone is excited to put their letter into their backpack to share with their family. But first, they return to the table for lunch. Tomorrow, they may get to read with their peers on the small stage where the teachers hold “Readers’ Theater.”

To learn how Hamden served children during the pandemic of 2020, read our 2020 evaluation report.

All Kids Need to Read

READy for the Grade serves a diverse population, with programs in rural, suburban, and urban communities. The challenges of living and learning with low income vary by setting. Click the site name for details.



New Haven



West Haven


Location: 195 Church Street, 7th Floor
New Haven, Connecticut 06510

Telephone: (203) 859.6555

Email: ljordan@newalliancefoundation.org
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