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A pilot program in New Haven will teach kids to read this summer

Incoming New Haven Superintendent Madeline Negrón will begin on July 1.
Molly Ingram
Incoming New Haven Superintendent Madeline Negrón will begin on July 1.

Summer is almost here, but New Haven students have the opportunity to learn through the holiday.

The city’s new tutoring initiative pilot program has received $3 million in funding, and will serve more than 600 kids grades 1-5 this summer.

City and school officials want to help kids who struggled during COVID-19 remote learning, and are still trying to catch up.

“If a student cannot read, they cannot access the full opportunities of a K through 12 curriculum,” Mayor Justin Elicker said. “And once that child falls behind it is incredibly difficult to catch them up.”

According to incoming Superintendent Madeline Negrón, only 16% of third graders in New Haven are proficient in reading. By comparison, almost 50% of students across the state are proficient.

Negrón said that is not acceptable.

“I want to make sure that when students graduate from New Haven public schools that they're leaving our schools being ready for college, career or life,” Negrón said. “And we know that we cannot do that without literacy skills.”

Students will get two one-hour lessons each week, for six weeks. Math help will also be provided.

Officials hope to expand it to New Haven schools in the fall.

Students involved with New Haven Reads, LEAP, Boys and Girls Club, Horizons, Inspire Communities, New Haven Counts and New Heights will be able to participate in the pilot program.

The program will be led by United Way of Greater New Haven. New Haven Reads will be the literacy partner.

The program will rely on more than 200 volunteers to tutor. Interested individuals can sign up here.

Molly is a reporter covering Connecticut. She also produces Long Story Short, a podcast exploring public policy issues across Connecticut.