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Who We Are

Founded in 1998, Children’s Reading Partners (formerly the Hartford Jewish Coalition for Literacy) is a program of volunteers who work to build and improve the reading skills of pre-kindergarten to grade five, educationally at-risk public school students in Hartford, Bloomfield, East Hartford, New Britain, Manchester and West Hartford.

What We Do

Our trained reading mentors work in local public schools with at-risk students one-on-one or in small groups to improve comprehension, advance reading fluency, build confidence, and promote a love and interest in reading. Each volunteer commits to working with the same child throughout the school year on a weekly basis. The components of the current program are:

  • Elementary Express – Reading mentors read books for 30 minutes weekly one-on-one with at-risk kindergarten through fifth-grade students.
  • Reading Buddies – Middle school students read books weekly with a kindergarten student in Hartford and Bloomfield for one month.
  • Preschool Pals – Volunteers read with preschool children weekly in Bloomfield for 10 weeks in the spring and six weeks in the summer.

Why We Do It

  • In Greater Hartford, there is a staggering opportunity gap between students from less affluent towns and their peers in more advantaged communities.

  • Literacy skills are essential for success in school and in life.

  • Most of the children we serve have no books in their homes, lack adult reading support and have been identified by the schools as “at-risk.”

Does It Work?

Since its founding in 1998, this initiative has served more than 6,000 students and conducted over 95,000 reading sessions. It also has provided 6,000 new books to students and their classrooms. Here’s what educators have to say about Children’s Reading Partners:

The enrichment, support and guidance provided by these phenomenal volunteers truly make a dynamic difference in the lives of our children. They feel better about themselves, they feel better about reading, and they feel better about their chances for success in school…. I cannot emphasize enough how [Children’s Reading Partners] and the Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford impact the educational progress of our children! – Principal, East Hartford

This program is exceptional. The tutors are always there on time to work with students and I love how warm they are with them. They challenge them but also provide them with the scaffolding and support that they need to reach their goals. –  First-Grade Teacher, West Hartford

Every week, the reading mentors arrive ready to support our students around literacy. They are kind, patient and always have smiles on their faces. The mentors bring their own books and world experiences to share with our students. Each child who works with a mentor looks forward to the time spent building a love for reading with a caring adult…These are relationships that last a lifetime. – Curriculum Specialist, Hartford

Children’s Reading Partners is a program of the Jewish Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford and is an affiliate of the National Jewish Coalition for Literacy. Major grant funding is provided by the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Hartford, SBM Charitable Foundation, the Stocker Foundation, Trifecta Environmental, the Jeffrey P. Ossen Family Foundation, the Kinder Morgan Foundation, People’s United Community Foundation, George A. & Grace L. Long Foundation at Bank of America, and the Samuel Roskin Trust at the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving.

For more information, please contact us at or at 860-236-READ (7323). Be sure to visit our Facebook page for the latest news and updates. Click here to view the students' gallery of artwork which expresses their thoughts about their Children’s Reading Partners’ volunteers.