Thanks to a grant from the New Alliance Foundation and an anonymous donor, the West Haven Library will once again be hosting a Ready for the Grade program for six weeks throughout the summer. The program focuses on helping to reach low-income, low-reading level kids going into grades K-3. The program has grown in popularity, and this summer will reach approximately 70 kids, with 8 certified West Haven school teachers doing the tutoring.
West Haven Library’s Ready for the Grade program reaches children in grades K- 3 who are low income and below their grade level for reading. The program runs for six weeks, with tutoring for children and weekly Family Literacy Nights. Parents either came to an information session in May to sign up, or received flyers about the program through their child’s teacher.
Parents can decide which Family nights they would prefer to attend, as we offer our program at the Main Library and Louis Piantino Library on two different nights. The family literacy component focuses on emphasizing to parents what their kids are learning in school, what is expected of them, and offers the children a reading activity to showcase how reading and literacy can be fun.
“Last year, the library had a reading to bunnies night where kids read aloud to rabbits, literacy bingo, and the children made reading sticks to name a few,” said Colleen Bailie, the library’s executive director. “Their parents simultaneously had discussions with local teachers on how to help their children with reading comprehension, an overview of the testing done in the school system, and ways to encourage their kids to read.”
There is more to the program than just reading and academics. The library tries to provide more.
“We always provide dinner after the lessons and activities along with a raffle prize every week,” Bailie said. “Many of the kids that come in for the tutoring are ELL (English language learners) students. We hope that each child will go back to school at or above the reading level they left with, as many students fall out of the reading habit once out of school. After every session, students also walk away with their own books, to increase their personal library collection.”
Bailie said the renewal of the program is exciting to library staff and the clients who use the program.
“The West Haven Library is thrilled to facilitate the program for the third straight year and look forward to seeing all the kids and teachers throughout the summer,” she said.