Chancellor Kicks Off NYC Reads 365 In Harlem And Citywide

November 2, 2015

Schools Chancellor Carmen FariñaChancellor Fariña today announced the launch of NYC Reads 365, a new multi-year citywide literacy effort to promote a City that reads every day, in and outside of our schools.

All pre-K-12 schools will receive ongoing resources to promote daily reading – new and age-appropriate reading lists, engaging posters and bookmarks, and support and trainings for school staff and parents around strengthening students’ reading skills and encouraging a love for reading. Students and families can also easily access updated reading lists and extensive reading resources at a new NYC Reads 365 website.

NYC Reads 365 builds on the City’s universal 2nd-grade literacy plan, announced last month in the Mayor’s plan for equity and excellence in education. NYC Reads 365 will build momentum and enthusiasm for daily reading and support the work of reading coaches that will be assigned to all elementary schools by fall 2018. This spring, the DOE will begin identifying and training reading coaches in advance of placement at high-needs schools starting next fall.

The Chancellor announced the NYC Reads 365 initiative at PS 133 in Brooklyn with New York City-based children’s book author Jon Scieszka.

“Reading opens doors and expands opportunities for our children, in and out of the classroom,” said Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña. “For me, reading Spanish fairy tales with my father as a young girl inspired a love of books and a love of learning, and ultimately inspired me to become a teacher. As we give New York City students and families resources to make daily reading a reality in their lives, I know that we are going to be a better city for it. I ask all New Yorkers – not just students and families – to join me in promoting NYC Reads 365 and promoting the importance of reading.”

“I have always loved to read. When I was a child, I loved the library and would take out as many books as my arms could carry. When I was growing up, reading helped me make sense of a world that didn’t always feel welcoming. And as a mother, some of my most treasured memories are of reading with Chiara and Dante,” said First Lady Chirlane McCray. “The hours I’ve spent reading have been some of the happiest of my life, and reading and writing were my pathway to success. I know that’s true for other students too – research shows reading helps children achieve. Growing little bookworms is good for students, for families, for schools and for our city.”

“NYC Reads 365 is one of the smartest, most wonderfully direct literacy efforts I have ever seen,” said author Jon Scieszka. “Kids become lifelong independent readers by seeing positive role models, having a choice in what they read, and being able to read for pleasure – exactly what NYC Reads 365 offers. As an author, a New Yorker, a National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, I am thrilled to help put this program into action. Kids and parents are going to love NYC Reads 365. And NYC Reads 365 is going to inspire and help produce informed, literate citizens.”

“I’m thrilled to kick off this powerful citywide effort to encourage daily reading for every single one of our students. We all know that reading must take place beyond the classroom – in our students’ local libraries and of course, inside their homes,” said Deputy Chancellor Phil Weinberg. “As a former English teacher, I know daily reading holds a transformative power. It accelerates progress in student learning and empowers students to know they can think for themselves. Reading prepares them for a lifetime of learning.”

“Through NYC Reads 365, we are going to help make the next generation of readers,” said Anna Commitante, Executive Director of Curriculum, Instruction, and Professional Learning. Academic research shows the critical importance of daily reading in our students’ education, and this initiative is going to give schools, students, and families the resources and materials to make New York a city that reads every day. I look forward to continuing our work to improve literacy skills and foster a love of reading across all five boroughs.”

The grade-level book lists that all City schools will receive through NYC Reads 365 represent a wide range of genres and cultural perspectives, and are the first update to Citywide reading lists across grades PK-12 since 2008. The texts on the lists, which can also be found on the NYC Reads 365 website – along with bookmarks designed to promote the joy of reading – will be updated each school year. Every DOE school will also receive copies of the NYC Reads 365 posters, designed by artist Robert Pizzo. Each borough in New York City is represented in five original poster designs that depict iconic landmarks engaged in reading.

The DOE is working with the New York, Brooklyn and Queens Public Libraries to ensure that the texts on the reading lists are available throughout the city. The DOE is also providing continuing support and resources to schools around the reading lists and promoting reading through the implementation of NYC Reads 365, including an online NYC Reads 365 guide for school staff that includes resources to integrate the effort into their school and help parents plan family literacy nights. The initial cost of NYC Reads 365 is $540,000 – the majority of which will be used to place texts in school libraries.

The importance of daily reading is promoted by a wealth of academic research, and parents and families will be important partners in ensuring the success of NYC Reads 365. The effort is being launched the same week as November elementary school parent-teacher conferences, and will be highlighted through elementary, middle, and high school parent-teacher conferences this month. Through these parent-teacher conferences, ongoing parent communications, and the NYC Reads 365 website, parents will receive information and resources to support reading outside the school day.

Reflecting the City’s commitment to a love of reading and increased literacy through NYC Reads 365, several deputy chancellors and DOE leaders will be visiting schools across all five boroughs this week to read with students and promote the initiative:

On Thursday,

  • Deputy Chancellor Milady Baez will visit a dual-language classroom at PS 161, 499 W 133rd St, New York, NY 10027
    (212) 690-5945, Harlem USA

The City is also working with local libraries and community-based organizations to share NYC Reads 365 materials and resources. This week, libraries, community-based organizations, authors and lovers of reading can also play a critical role in this coordinated citywide effort by tweeting their support using the hashtag #NYCReads365.

More information on the initiative is available online.

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