What Are You Reading? – NYC PS & You 03/15/24

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What Are You Reading?

Dear New Yorkers,

Since we announced NYC Reads last spring, I’ve thought a lot about building a culture of reading in our schools and across the five boroughs. How do we make literacy a citywide, all-hands-on-deck effort?

The answer, I believe, is to engage as many families and community members as possible. So last month, we co-hosted a screening of The Right to Read, a moving documentary highlighting the national literacy crisis, with our partners at the NAACP. Afterward, multiple scholars and literacy leaders, including our very own Deputy Chancellor Carolyne Quintana, reflected on the film in an engaging panel discussion.

We also celebrated World Read Aloud Day, where Mayor Adams and I, along with approximately 40 readers from NYCPS leadership and partner organizations, read to over 1,200 students from 3-K to grade 5. I particularly enjoyed meeting the students and teachers at PS 123 in Harlem, where I read I Am Golden by Eva Chen.

To encourage families to practice reading skills at home, we’ve partnered with PBS to create dozens of short videos that feature NYCPS educators modeling science of reading strategies, such as how to blend letter sounds. Parents, I encourage you to check out these videos—and if you want to take it one step further, sign up to become a reading ambassador in your school community. We already have 1,200 parents participating! As an ambassador, you’ll learn the fundamentals of the science of reading through virtual trainings offered in multiple languages. Interested parent coordinators and other family-facing staff can enroll as well.

And finally, coming soon: NYC Reads Hubs! These Hubs will be hosted in local businesses in Districts 5, 6, 12, and 23 to give families additional access to books and literacy activities.

Families and staff, I want to leave you with one simple but powerful idea to foster a culture of reading across our city. The next time you say hello to a friend, neighbor, student, or any New Yorker, switch up your typical greeting. Don’t ask, “How are you doing?”

Instead, try, “What are you reading?” 

Soaring high,

David C. Banks


Our Spotlight Video:

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