New Haven, CT – An Urban Community with 19 Distinct Neighborhoods
For the ninth year in a row, New Haven Free Public Library’s Wilson Branch took the lead role in this city’s READy for the Grade program and collaborated with the New Haven Public School System.
New Haven ran programming for 7 weeks and offered a total of 28 hours of programming per child..
Activities included 2 hours of online group instruction per week, up to 2 45-minute online one-on-one tutoring sessions per child per week, plus 3 online family events and one 2-hour in person celebration.
24 children engaged regularly, despite a scheduling conflict with summer school. On average, students attended 20 of the 28 available hours during the summer.
What New Haven Parents Say
“By the end of the program I saw a little spark in my daughter that wasn’t there before. Her confidence had grown, and that gave me comfort to see that she was going to be ready for the grade.”
“The fun way of teaching was wonderful. My girls are now more interested in reading.”
“The [family night] guest speaker helped me understand and resolve some barriers I faced when helping my children with schoolwork.”
While many children thrive on face-to-face exchanges and some lack access to the technology required to learn online, others benefit from the accessibility afforded when they don’t have transportation to the library. Since the pandemic, New Haven has offered 100% virtual READy for the Grade programming. In 2022, site leaders may offer a hybrid model that blends online activities with the in-person program described below.
Tables are filled with children doing various group activities.
At one table, children play sight word bingo. At another table, students identify cause and effect in a story. A third group of children completes worksheets to help them develop writing skills. Another group of students practices sight words through song.
After table time, children explore other areas of the room, forming reading circles on a big rug or along the wall. In one group the teacher supplies each child with story cards. As volunteers read sections of the story, the teacher peppers the children with questions about whether they can relate to the story, a clever way to check on their comprehension. The children read echo style (one reads and then all read the same section) and there are opportunities for vocabulary review and phonetic reminders. Each time the teacher asks for a volunteer to read, a sea of hands arises, as children request their chance to shine.
In another group of slightly younger children, students practice spelling with physical movements. They also make short booklets of their own to take away and to use in the group for reading practice.
For details, download the independent evaluation of READy for the Grade.
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.