Hamden, CT – a suburban site with strong ties to the adjacent urban community
In its third year with READy for the Grade, Hamden worked with 15 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.
32 people attended the culminating in-person family celebration.
Hamden offered 66 hours of programming during summer. Each child could attend 1 or 2 sessions (up to 5 hours) at the library per week.
Every student received 1 free book when they attended
In 2022, Hamden READy for the Grade distributed 86 books to participating children.
100% of the 12 children tested at the start and end of the program maintained or improved their reading skills
(as measured by the Dolch Sight Word assessment.)
What Hamden Parents Say
“I like the individual attention the staff gives my child at each session. They take time to answer my questions.”
“The family night zooms added so much to the whole experience.”
“He gained enthusiasm for reading because he can now understand what he is reading.”
At the Brundage Community Branch Library, children gather around a table in the cheerful all-purpose room downstairs. Today, they are fully engaged in an interactive reading of Frog and Toad: The Lost Button.
The teacher opens with a question: “Have you ever lost something?” Then, she prepares the children for the important task ahead.
While they listen to the story, each child must listen for certain tricky words. After speaking each word, the teacher asks who would like to define it. Hands rise high, as each child is eager to help. Now, the teacher invites another student to find the word printed on one of the index cards attached to the white board. A third student finds its illustration. The next student she calls on spells the word aloud, and the last student makes a sentence with the word. Together, teacher and students figure out how many syllables that word contains. Finally, to encourage careful listening, the teacher asks the group to select one of the tricky words to listen for while she reads the chapter. Throughout the reading, students snap or clap whenever they hear the special word.
Meanwhile, the teacher interrupts the reading often to invite the children to compare and predict what will happen to Frog, Toad, and their friends. By asking questions, like, “How many buttons are on his shirt?” she gauges student comprehension. When the reading ends, the teacher leads a discussion encouraging each child to reflect on what they heard in the chapter. She gives every child a random selection of index cards, each with a description of a moment in The Lost Button. Now, the group must work together to reassemble the story by putting their index cards in proper sequence.
Finally, armed with personal white boards and bags of mixed buttons, each child engages in an individual literacy activity. Every student has the task of sorting their buttons according to a descriptor of their choice — size, color, shape, number of holes, etc. Next, each child writes sentences about their buttons. They finish the activity by taking turns reading their sentences aloud.
“I found ten buttons.”
“I have five pink buttons.”
The teacher winds down the activity with a short, written comprehension quiz before leading the group upstairs to the library. Some children elect to look at books on their own, while others enjoy listening to the librarian read a new story.
Read more about Hamden READy for the Grade in our latest 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.