Boston Schools Benefit From The Readboston Program

Literacy is​ a​ problem across the nation; and​ with the influx of​ many poorly educated immigrants, the problem is​ only getting worse. The city of​ Boston​ has done something about it, and​ partners with the Boston​ schools for​ one phase of​ its implementation.

in​ 1995, Mayor Thomas M. Menino founded the ReadBoston​ project to​ address the low literacy levels of​ the city’s youth. The project’s goal is​ to​ have all children in​ Boston​ schools reading on​ grade level by the completion​ of​ third grade.

ReadBoston​ targets children both before they enter Boston​ schools kindergarten and​ throughout elementary school. After school programs and​ summer activities extend the campaign to​ ensure Boston’s youth can read.

Preschool Years

Before entering the Boston​ schools, ReadBoston​ partners with childcare centers, providing materials and​ training to​ help the centers establish and​ encourage home reading programs for​ the children who attend the centers. They also work with daycare teachers to​ improve their literacy teaching skills.

ReadBoston​ has two main​ programs under the early years literacy campaign — Early Literacy Links and​ The Reading Trail.

Early Literacy Links reinforces ReadBoston’s focus on​ the importance of​ early literacy by promoting more effective reading instruction​ through teacher training. Three literacy specialists and​ one resource librarian focus their efforts in​ a​ small number of​ childcare centers to​ help train​ teachers and​ daycare providers. Their focus is​ how to​ best prepare young children to​ become able readers.

The Reading Trail promotes family involvement in​ the literacy development of​ their children. Home lending libraries are established and​ maintained in​ childcare centers across the city to​ encourage children to​ read, to​ have a​ family member read to​ them, to​ visit the library, and​ to​ use individual “trail guides” to​ record the books they read. as​ the children reach milestones along the “trail”, they are given books and​ other reading incentives. Additionally, centers participating in​ The Reading Trail receive books to​ establish libraries and​ training on​ how to​ integrate family reading activities into their current curriculum.

Boston​ Schools

Once children reach the elementary level within​ the Boston​ schools, ReadBoston​ is​ there to​ welcome them and​ assist the Boston​ schools to​ foster literacy home-school connections.

Within​ the Boston​ schools, ReadBoston​ breaks into four separate yet cohesive programs — the Family Literacy Project, Reading is​ Fundamental, the After-School Project, and​ the Families and​ Books program.

Family Literacy Project:

• Encourages family involvement in​ children’s literacy;
• Sets up home lending libraries and​ provide the books in​ Boston​ schools elementary classrooms to​ take books home to​ read with their families;
• Promotes twice yearly parent-teacher conferences with an​ emphasis on​ literacy; and
• Provides teacher training and​ support to​ help each of​ the Boston​ schools incorporate the program into their existing curriculum.

There are currently 21 elementary level Boston​ schools participating in​ the ReadBoston​ program. They hope to​ eventually expand​ to​ every elementary school in​ the city.

Reading is​ Fundamental (RIF):

• Provides three free books each year to​ participating students to​ create a​ home library of​ their own; and
• Develops fun activities to​ encourage reading as​ a​ worthy pastime for​ the children.

Each year ReadBoston​ gives three books to​ over 15,000 students within​ the Boston​ schools through the Rif​ program.

The After-School Project integrates literacy into the Boston​ schools’ after-school programs. Literacy specialists promote literacy instruction​ by providing literacy training, advice and​ books to​ increase literacy instruction​ and​ reading within​ the after-school arena.

Families and​ Books reach children during the off-school summer months, using two Storymobiles that visit 40 neighborhood sites each week during July and​ August. Each Storymobile provide fun storytellings for​ children, who also can take books to​ read at​ home. The two Storymobiles together carry over 10,000 books that may be checked out by the children.

in​ addition​ to​ the involvement of​ the Boston​ schools, a​ wide array of​ community members have joined the ReadBoston​ campaign — foundations, corporations, community groups, and​ individuals. They provide both funding and​ volunteerism. The community-sponsored book drives have garnered over 500,000 new books for​ the ReadBoston​ program, and​ over 1,700 tutors volunteer each week to​ help children learn to​ read — working in​ the childcare centers, the Boston​ schools classrooms, and​ the after-school programs. Boston​ and​ its community are serious about literacy for​ the city’s children.

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