INWOOD — A local literacy program kicked off a monthlong initiative this month to decrease the summer reading slump that impacts low-income, school-aged students, organizers said.
The program, "Reading Everywhere Month," now in its second year, is intended to provide children with more opportunities to read beyond the classroom, according to Sarah Morgridge, development associate for Literacy Inc. (LINC), which is organizing the initiative.
Morgridge said a typical middle-class child enters first grade with 1,000 to 1,700 hours of one-on-one reading, compared with an average of just 25 hours for a child from a low-income family.
“The achievement gap begins here, with an opportunity gap,” she said.
Morgridge said the organization is conducting workshops for parents of young readers throughout the summer at different locations in Queens, Staten Island, the Bronx and Northern Manhattan, and will focus on areas that serve mostly Title 1 schools.
In Inwood alone, between September 2015 to April 2016, the organization has worked with 1,442 children within several community programs, Morgridge said. This isn’t including the 470 children that participate in the “Reading Buddies” programs at P.S. 98, P.S. 18, P.S. 5 and Washington Heights Academy.
LINC is a decades-old organization that collaborates with schools, libraries, community centers and parents to build “neighborhood networks” that teach children how to develop and foster a joy in reading.
The organization partners with 17 public libraries, 89 community partners and 39 schools in New York City throughout the school year. They work with approximately 15,000 kids, Morgridge said.
“The whole message of this program is to read to your kids during the summer,” Morgridge said, adding that the event launched late last month with a “Reading on the Rails” celebration at the New York Transit Museum, where more than 200 families participated in the reading workshops, along with City Council members Ydanis Rodriguez and Mark Levine.
“We believe every neighborhood has the resources to teach children how to read, they just aren’t connected,” she said. “And that’s what we do. We use the resources that are in the community.”
The monthlong celebration continues throughout July at community fairs in the five boroughs and will wrap up in Northern Manhattan on July 30 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. along Academy Street between Vermilyea Avenue and Sherman Avenue.