In December, ExpandED and the Partnership for Afterschool Education (PASE) convened a working group to discuss growing concerns about the state of young children’s literacy levels in the wake of Covid-19. Prior to the pandemic, approximately two of every three children living in poverty could not read at grade level. Since the start of the school year, it has become evident that more students need help with reading and writing. Classroom and program observations suggest more students are asking for help, which stretches teachers and afterschool staff who are already facing burnout due to increased demands and staffing shortages. Reading programs typically offered to kindergarten and 1st grade students are being requested for older students who have fallen behind.
ExpandED Schools and PASE convened a group of stakeholders from youth-serving nonprofits, social services agencies, higher education and city government to discuss these literacy challenges and the role community-based organizations (CBOs) could play in further supporting literacy gains for New York City school children. Currently, CBOs deliver literacy enrichment in afterschool and summer programs; literacy interventions through push-in programs during the school day; and an array of hands-on learning activities that help build children’s contextual knowledge and vocabulary.
In a new paper, ExpandED and PASE offer an outline of the themes of the discussion as well as ideas to further improve literacy and action steps. You can read the paper here.
With special thanks to the following participants in the strategic discussion that led to this paper:
- Jaynemarie Angbah, Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Philanthropies
- Farhad Asghar, Carnegie Corporation of New York
- Katie Aylwin, WHEDco
- Marcos Clander, Read Alliance
- Betsy Cohen, Youth Communication
- Erica Doherty, Literacy Trust
- Nick Ferreira, The Child Center of NY
- Andrew Fletcher, NYC Department of Education
- Tim Fredrick, Youth Communication
- Ruth Genn, The Heckscher Foundation for Children and Literacy Academy Collective
- Be Jensen, Literacy Assistance Center
- Michele Kotler, Community-Word Project
- Emma Laz-Hirsch, CAMBA
- Megan McAllister, Altman Foundation
- Salma Muro, Literacy Trust
- Christina Oliver, Read to Lead
- Erica Oquendo, Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation
- Danielle Pulliam, The Pinkerton Foundation
- Maggie Ritter, Read to Lead
- Kim Sweet, Advocates for Children of New York
- Laura Walsh, Literacy Inc.
- Margie Weiner, DREAM
- Phylisa Wisdom, Literacy Trust