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 six, educationally at-risk public school students in the Greater Hartford region.

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 one-on-one with at-risk kindergarten through sixth-grade students for 30 minutes per week during the school year.
  • Reading Buddies – Middle school students read books weekly with kindergarten students in Hartford and Bloomfield for one month.
  • Preschool Pals – Volunteers read with preschool children weekly in Bloomfield for 10 weeks in the spring.

Our other offerings include:

  • Summer Reading League – This reading enrichment program serves pre-kindergarten and elementary students of all reading abilities in Bloomfield and Hartford. Volunteers read one-on-one with students for 30 minutes per week over four to six weeks. Reading over the summer helps students maintain the progress they have made during the school year.
  • Greater Hartford Holiday Book Drive – This annual, community-wide virtual book drive takes place between Thanksgiving and New Year's. 100% of donations are used to purchase new books for children in our programs and their school classrooms. Donate here.

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.

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

Does It Work?

Since our initiative was founded in 1998, 1,800+ volunteers from Children's Reading Partners have helped 7,000+ students at 20 sites become better readers and stronger students! We've also provided 9,000+ new and gently used 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


Click here to donate to Children's Reading Partners or the Holiday Book Drive.

Learn More

For more information, please contact Ronni Breiter, Director of Children's Reading Partners, at or at 860-236-READ (7323). Be sure to visit our Facebook page for the latest news and updates.


Children’s Reading Partners is an initiative of the Jewish Community Relations Council, part of the Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford. Major grant funding is provided by: the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Hartford, the Jeffrey P. Ossen Family Foundation, SBM Charitable Foundation, the Amy Elizabeth Lauth Charitable Foundation, People’s United Community Foundation, the Elizabeth Carse Foundation at Bank of America, GYL Financial Synergies, and the George & Grace L. Long Foundation at Bank of America.