West Haven, CT – a site on the outskirts of an urban community
2021 was the sixth year West Haven Public Library participated in READy for the Grade. Rather than providing in-person instruction, they gave families literacy kits each week. RfG staff filled each packet with literacy games and crafts, a weekly journal prompt and drawing journal, word-building tiles, practice worksheets, and books. At the end of the summer, West Haven RfG hosted an outdoor family event with Grammy-nominated children’s performer Judy Panacost.
11 children and their families took part in READy for the Grade in 2021
West Haven distributed 80 literacy kits over 6 weeks.
Families received a free book and gift card every time that they returned a completed literacy kit.
75% of the 8 students who took the easyCBM test at the start and end of the program showed improved literacy skills
What West Haven Parents Say
“The games and printable worksheets were excellent tools.”
“It forced me, as a parent, to put the effort into my child’s reading journey.”
“It encouraged her to read more to her younger sister.”
Indoor space restrictions and other community challenges prevented the West Haven Library from offering in-person programming in 2020 and 2021. Determined to provide some form of summer reading help, West Haven library staff carefully curated each week’s literacy packets to encourage regular, at-home, level-appropriate reading practice and family engagement. As reading test scores show, the effort was successful. At the end-of-summer celebration concert with Judy Panacost, children and families danced together on the lawn of the West Haven Library.
In 2022, the staff hope to increase enrollment and offer direct instruction again. It may look something like what our independent evaluator observed in 2019, as described below.
Literacy Lunch occurs after one-on-one tutoring sessions. In addition to providing a meal to each family member, the lunch hour gives family members the chance to ask their children about their tutoring session and to look at books together.
After a few minutes of eating, the Children’s Librarian joins the group and asks for all the students to come to the front of the room so she can read them a story.
The librarian hands each child a “Magic Bag,” and distributes some Magic Bags to parents with younger children who are sitting behind the rows of students. Each Magic Bag has a collection of little pictures that will be used during the reading. The librarian introduces the book, Armadillo Rodeo, by Jan Brecht, and tells the families that their children are working on listening to details in a story and on story re-telling.
As she reads the story, she stops occasionally to ask the children to check their bags for different pictures that illustrate important events in the story. This allows her to check comprehension and attention to detail and also to make important references to other important literacy skills
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.