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Monica Ingkavet
Learn more about MS ExTRA and book clubs.
Email Monica Ingkavet
Vice President, Expanded Learning Schools
or call (646) 943-8767


At the start of the 2013-14 school year, we began collaborating with the New York City Department of Education’s Middle School Quality Initiative, NYC City Council, Robin Hood and Harvard EdLabs to bring struggling readers up to grade level through Middle School ExTRA—Middle School Expanded Day + Tutoring = Reading Achievement—a pioneering initiative to expand the school day in 20 New York City middle schools.

"It is especially critical that we are getting the arts into more middle schools—this is a time when students are developing their academic and creative passions, and they should have exposure to the joy of arts. A great education has to prepare students for life and provide them with real-world, critical-thinking skills—and this just cannot be done without the arts."

— Chancellor Carmen Fariña
Each school, together with a community partner, adds two-and-a-half hours of hands-on learning in such disciplines as the arts, STEM and physical fitness. Targeted students also meet in small groups with a trained literacy tutor for daily book clubs. Book clubs read high-interest books together, discuss the text and draw connections to their own lives. The small groups allow students to feel safe in expressing their thoughts, and they support each other as they build vocabulary and gain exposure to new ideas and perspectives.

This school transformation strategy is built on evidence of student progress in ExpandED Schools and in Denver and Houston public schools, where Harvard EdLabs has seen promising results among students tutored in math.

ABC 7 reports on the middle school expanded learning time pilot:


Joel Nunez
For more information about Ready Readers:
Email Joel Nuñez
Literacy Program Director
or call (646) 943-8741

Ready Readers

In January 2016, we began supporting literacy – particularly vocabulary, comprehension and critical thinking – in early elementary after-school programs. Through read alouds, art projects and peer-to-peer discussions, young readers build fluency, delve into a book’s theme, build oral expression and make connections between the text and their lives, as well as the world around them. 

This initiative, in partnership with CAMBA, Chinese American Planning Council and Cypress Hills Development Corp, is funded by grants from the Brooke Astor Fund for New York City Education through the New York Community Trust. The goal of Ready Readers is to pilot a scalable model for improving students’ higher-order reading skills and build the capacity of community educators to deliver high-quality learning experiences that support literacy development.

Community educators participate in training institutes and collaborate and co-plan with classroom teachers to offer at least two hours of after-school literacy instruction each week. In its first year, Ready Readers built the literacy skills of more than 900 students.