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City’s First Readers Gather on the Steps of City Hall to Advocate for Critical Early Literacy Funding

Updated: 3 hours ago

What do we want? Early Literacy!

When do we want it? NOW!

On Thursday morning, June 6, Councilmembers Jennifer Gutiérrez and Shahana Hanif joined the passionate partners of City’s First Readers (CFR)* for a press conference on the steps of City Hall and proudly chanted those words. 

Photo: Christina Baute

The goal was loud and clear as they called for $6.5 million to be allocated to early childhood literacy programming in the next fiscal budget.  

CFR harnesses the collective energy of 17 early literacy partners across all 51 NYC council districts, surrounding families and children with free community-driven programming that builds family literacy and a strong pre-reading foundation for children from birth through five. 

CFR partners work independently and as a collective to spread a literacy blanket across the entirety of the city, from hospitals and libraries to daycares and homes. In light of the stressors, trauma, and negative effects of the pandemic, the need to support families as early as possible with social-emotional learning and culturally responsive early learning programming has never been more critical. 

Photo: Christina Baute

Thank you to all who signed the petition and to all of the fierce advocates who attended the press conference on June 6 for your unwavering support. Let us stand together and keep the momentum moving so that we can secure a brighter future for all of New York City’s youngest readers. 

For more information about City’s First Readers, please contact Emmanuel Novy, Chief of Strategic Initiatives at or Karen Rogel, Director of Strategic Initiatives at

To learn more about each of the CFR organizations, visit

* City’s First Readers was established in 2014 and is funded by the New York City Council.


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