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All Aboard for Back to School in South Jamaica, East New York, and East Harlem

Grab your books and pencils, it’s time to go back to school! Or, for many young learners, it’s time to go to school for the first time. NYC Reads and its partner organizations work to ensure that children in their communities enter the classroom ready to read and excel from day one. In celebration of this special time of year, the NYC Reads partners are joining forces to host Back to School fairs across the city!

The neighborhoods of South Jamaica and East New York have already distributed hundreds of books and school supplies this month, and the third fair in East Harlem is planned for Saturday, September 30th. These events introduce parents to the knowledge and resources of ten community partners, each with their unique approach to supporting families through the process of reading with their children for twenty minutes a day.

For many children, getting to school means taking the subway with their family. The Reads fairs prepare children for this experience by leading them through the various “stations” on their way to class. Stations include activities like crafting a book crown, writing about their family and interests, and meeting the partners who make up NYC Reads. Once they travel to enough stations, participants are rewarded with a unique book bag with materials to help get them ready for the new school year.

The fun doesn’t stop at the stations! Each fair also features guest readers, songs, and dances that get the whole family involved and excited to read. Senior Program Officer, Danielle Pulliam from the Pinkerton Foundation and Principal Duvernay of PS 48Q led families in South Jamaica’s read aloud. In East New York, LINC’s Director of Strategic Initiatives, Karen Rogel and PS 202K teacher Ms. S, read Isabel and Her Colores Go to School by Alexandra Alessandri, and I Promise by LeBron James. At both events, families received copies of Isabel and Her Colores and The World Belonged To Us by Jacqueline Woodson.

“When we come together, we can make sure that our children are ready for school,” said Karen, “Not just ready with books, but ready to read them, to be supported to follow their passions.”

Our vision is a city where reading is visible and valued in every neighborhood, where families know the resources available to them and can ensure their child is being given the right tools and guidance to succeed in class and beyond. A great school year starts with preparation, and that includes cultivating a sense of wonder and confidence in the mind of each reader.

Mark your calendar! Our last Back to School Fair will be held on Sept 30 from 10:00am-3:00pm at 120th Street, between Lexington and 3rd Avenues in East Harlem.

Visit to learn more about our work across the city and pledge your commitment to supporting young readers today.


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