17 Organizations to Support City’s Youngest in Reaching Reading Proficiency

Today at the Cortelyou Brooklyn Public Library (BPL) branch, New York City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams, Council Member Rita Joseph, the Brooklyn Public Library and Jumpstart for Young Children celebrated over $5 million in City Council funding for early childhood literacy programs. The Council’s City’s First Readers (CFR) initiative supports nonprofit organizations that provide programming to help children five years old and younger to build their reading skills and attain reading proficiency by third grade.

Photos of the event can be found here.

“Reading and storytelling give us the power to understand the world around us and connect with each other in a meaningful way,” said Speaker Adrienne Adams. “The Council is proud to support literacy programming through our $5.5 million allocation to fund the City’s First Readers initiative, including $438,000 for the Brooklyn Public Library. Through continued investments in our public libraries and educational programs, we can advance efforts to improve reading proficiency for students that equip them with the resources to succeed.”

In the Fiscal Year 2024 budget, the City Council allocated nearly $5.5 million through the City’s First Readers initiative to fund 17 organizations across the city. This includes $438,114 each for both BPL and Jumpstart. Over the last three years, programs funding by the initiative have engaged over 2.2 million families, distributed over one million books, and delivered over 8,000 literacy workshops across New York City.

“The Brooklyn Public Library serves as a lifeline to families in District 40. From providing a safe space for our youth to being a resource hub, our libraries do it all,” said Council Member Rita Joseph. “Educating the whole child with community support is crucial to achieving the best outcomes in the educational journey for our students. Organizations under City’s First Readers make it easier to expand the importance of literacy not only throughout our school system but also throughout the community. P.S 139’s success is attributed to its focus on meaningful engagement with institutions that support students and their families like our local public libraries.”

“At Jumpstart, we work tirelessly to ensure that all children have access to early care and education programming, so we’re thrilled to be able to celebrate Jumpstart’s Read for the Record initiative to promote early literacy in New York City today with the City Council members,” said Kim Mitchell, Chair of Jumpstart’s National Board of Directors. “Thanks to the New York City Council and their steadfast commitment to the City’s First Reads initiative, Jumpstart has been able to expand its services to ensure even more children can benefit from our research-based early childhood curriculum at no cost year round.”

“As a public library, introducing children to the joy of reading is one of our most critical roles,” said Linda E. Johnson, President and CEO, Brooklyn Public Library. “We’re proud to celebrate funding for the City’s First Readers program, which makes it possible for organizations like Jumpstart to help our youngest Brooklynites boost their reading skills and build a lifelong love of learning. Many thanks to Council Speaker Adams and Councilmember Joseph for their unwavering commitment to supporting essential library programming.”

In coordination with Jumpstart’s 18th Annual Read for the Record campaign, Council Member Joseph led staff and students of P.S. 139 in a shared reading of With Lots of Love, by Jenny Torres Sanchez, a beautiful story that brings children and adults together through the unifying power of family, food and culture. The Read for the Record campaign is a global celebration in which millions of children and adults around the world read the same book on the same day to promote the importance of early literacy and increased access to high-quality books that reflect the diversity of communities. This year, over two million children, families and teachers are expected to take part in the campaign. In nearly two decades, over 26 million people have participated in the Read for the Record Day.