NYC PS & You – NYC Reads: Ensuring Every Student Is a Confident Reader

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NYC Reads: Ensuring Every Student Is a Confident Reader

Dear New Yorkers,

Every day, I’m struck by both the brilliant promise of our children and the need for us to do more for them…and for our educators. It’s crystal clear to me where our intense focus needs to be. We need to improve the way we teach our children to read.

The numbers tell the story. Right now, 51 percent of New York City elementary students—and two-thirds of students nationally—are not reading at grade level. This is the educational crisis of our lifetime, and we’re going to do something about it.

This week, Mayor Eric Adams and I announced the launch of “NYC Reads,” a landmark citywide campaign to declare literacy and reading instruction as the core focus and overriding priority of New York City Public Schools. At the heart of this campaign is a new plan to dramatically strengthen the literacy instruction we provide to your children—beginning in Early Childhood Education programs—and the training we provide to their teachers.

The Science of Reading tells us what works, and that is a focus on phonics and the fundamental skills needed (like sounding out and decoding words) to build vocabulary, fluency, and comprehension. Teachers tell us that they want clear guidance on what works, backed by coaching and professional learning that’s tied to what they’re doing in their classrooms. And we’re going to give it to them.

NYC Reads will cover all Early Childhood Education programs and elementary schools over the next two years, with a focus on a streamlined set of classroom materials that are rooted in the Science of Reading. About half of our districts will begin in September with the one curriculum they choose to be used in all their elementary schools. The remainder of our districts will join the program in the fall of 2024. Most of our Early Childhood programs will launch this fall, with the remainder joining in the following year.

That means that in two years, every Early Childhood Education program and elementary school in New York City will be using a quality, research-backed curriculum that is focused on teaching the foundational skills needed to become a confident reader.

Mayor Adams and I see this as a game-changer in the classroom, particularly in teaching all children to be confident readers—an absolutely essential step on the way to achieving our mission of ensuring each student graduates on a pathway to a rewarding career and long-term economic security, equipped to be a positive force for change.

Thank you for being a part of the New York City Public Schools and for your commitment to your child’s education. Working together, we will put the focus and support in place to give every child in every classroom a strong educational foundation—a bright start and a clear path to a bold, limitless future.

Soaring high, 

David C. Banks

Listen to Chancellor Banks discuss his vision for reshaping public education in this podcast hosted by national education leader Kevin Chavous.

Our Weekly Video  

Please enjoy these highlights from the Chancellor’s NYC Reads announcement:

For translations, please visit our YouTube page.

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