A program of the Jewish Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford
The Hartford Jewish Coalition for Literacy (HJCL) has changed its name to Children's Reading Partners. The new name more accurately reflects the mission and impact of this program. Children's Reading Partners builds and improves the reading skills of pre-kindergarten to grade three educationally at-risk students in public school districts in Greater Hartford. The program recruits, trains, and places volunteers to read with these students (one-to-one or in small groups) on a consistent weekly basis.
Children's Reading Partners has proudly invested in the children of West Hartford (including Solomon Schechter Day School), Hartford, Bloomfield, East Hartford, Manchester and New Britain for 18 years (Chai). The new name is being unveiled as part of the program’s Chai activities. In the 2014-2015 school year, 250 reading mentors read with 450 educationally “at-risk” preschool through third grade children. Due to the addition of a rolling training system and a summer program, there was a 35.7% increase in the total number of students served. Since 1998, the initiative has served approximately 5,095 students and conducted almost 80,000 reading sessions.
Children's Reading Partners promotes the use of books that help children develop emotional intelligence in order to cultivate a culture of kindness and empathy. The program further expands students’ reading resources through the annual donation of a book to each student, as well as that student's classroom.
Alana Butler, Director of Children's Reading Partners, said, “Students thrive from the one-to-one attention from a caring adult. Not only do our reading mentors help to improve students' motivation, confidence, and reading skills, but they also help students see the enjoyment and value of reading.” Before working with students, reading mentors receive a literacy “classroom” training from a certified reading educator. The training is a key differentiator of the program’s professional focus and orientation toward measurable outcomes. Volunteers commit to reading with the same child every week for the entire program term.
“From preschool to third grade, children learn to read; from fourth grade on, they read to learn”, according to Naomi Cohen, the program’s co-founder and a former House Chairman of the Connecticut Legislature’s Education Committee. “The children with whom we read often have no books in their homes, lack adult support to reinforce reading abilities, and have limited comprehension skills. That’s why the mentoring we give is so critical to building literacy skills for student success.” To learn more, visit http://childrensreadingpartners.org/.