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Principles, Guidance, and Literacy Activities for School-Based Community Partners in Support of NYC Reads​

At the end of January, the New York City Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD) hosted a second session for community partners about literacy before and after school, and during summer or other holidays. Experts from the New York City Public Schools (NYCPS) central literacy collaborative updated community partners about the changes in public schools aligned to the vast body of evidence that helps us understand the best ways to teach children to read. That evidence, now often called the “science of reading,” has prompted shifts in literacy instruction during the school day including new literacy curriculum, guidance about the use of assessments during the year, and new practices for teachers to help boost reading skills for all children.

As both DYCD and NYCPS noted in the session, community partners that offer literacy enrichment have an incredibly important role to play in supporting literacy development among children. ExpandED partnered with DYCD and NYCPS to write a guide to encourage school leaders and their enrichment partners to deepen their partnership and collaborative efforts that strengthen children’s literacy.

Both agencies noted that literacy-rich activities that build vocabulary and background knowledge, such as theater, debate, choice reading, field trips, and other learning enrichments, are likely already happening in afterschool programs, and both agencies encouraged school- and community-based providers to keep offering these literacy-rich learning opportunities. More ideas can be found in the second document produced by DYCD, NYCPS and ExpandED, the Community Partner Guide for Literacy-Based Activities.

DYCD and NYCPS experts also stressed that enrichment partners should not try to add more instruction or offer remediation services as part of afterschool. Partners that do offer tutoring or other supports to accelerate skill development should be aligned to the city’s evidence-based high-impact tutoring standards, which are based on national evidence of what makes effective tutoring, including literacy tutoring.

Overall, these efforts to coordinate and align our supports for young people are encouraging, and of course there is still much more to do. Providing professional development and support to literacy educators working in afterschool, rethinking homework and how we use time in afterschool dedicated to homework help are just two areas for deeper exploration. We invite feedback on the documents (there is a link in both to provide feedback) and continued collaboration to ensure strong literacy in and out of school.

Principles and Guidance for School-Based Community Partners in Support of NYC Reads

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Community Partner Guide for Evidence-Based Literacy Activities

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