NPS Kicked Off World Read Aloud Day at Ridge Street School

Newark Public Schools partnered with the LitWorld, My Very Own Library, City of Newark, Scholastic Book Fairs, United Way of Essex and West Hudson, Foundation for Newark’s Future, Read & Believe and others to promote literacy

[Newark, NJ – February 25, 2016] – Newark Public Schools (NPS) helped launch global literacy nonprofit LitWorld’s World Read Aloud Day (WRAD) yesterday in partnership with the My Very Own Library (MVOL) literacy program at Ridge Street School. World Read Aloud Day is an international celebration of literacy that encourages students to celebrate the power of words and inspires a generation of readers. The district partnered with the MVOL program as well as the Foundation for Newark’s Future, the United Way of Essex and West Hudson, the City of Newark, LitWorld, Scholastic Book Fairs, Read & Believe, and others to kick off the celebration. MVOL, a local Newark literacy organization, is present in 23 Newark Public Schools and helps over 15,000 NPS students and their families build their own home libraries. MVOL will give away over 150,000 new books to Newark families this school year.

“Newark Public Schools was excited to participate in World Read Aloud Day to underscore how important it is for young people to embrace reading and learning,” said Superintendent Christopher D. Cerf of Newark Public Schools. “Instilling a passion for reading in our children at a young age will give them the creative and critical thinking skills they need for long-term academic and career success.”

WRAD is celebrated in over 100 countries by millions of young people around the world. Renowned literacy advocate and founder of LitWorld and World Read Aloud Day, Pam Allyn, was present for the official kickoff.

“Literacy is a basic human right, helping individuals to gain independence, economic freedom, and a fulfilling life,” said Allyn. “We will continue to work for children’s right to get access to quality literacy experiences. World Read Aloud Day is just one arrow in our quiver, and we will continue our work through all of our programs towards eradicating literacy altogether.”

The WRAD kickoff at Ridge Street School was part of a broader district-wide literacy celebration. There were several MVOL book fairs and workshops taking place, as well as other literacy events that included United Way’s Celebrity Read, a volunteer read aloud, and visits from award winning children’s book authors, Gordon Korman, Natalie Standiford, Tiffany Strelitz-Haber, and Kristen Rocha at eight participating MVOL schools.

“World Read Aloud Day and the district-wide literacy celebration are important initiatives to expose our children and their families to the joy of exploring our world through books,” said Mayor Ras J. Baraka. “Literacy training at all levels from grade school to adulthood not only helps individuals but is at the core of empowering Newark residents with the ability to get good jobs and to participate in the transformation of our city.”

“We are excited to have partnered with Newark Public Schools and the Foundation for Newark’s Future on World Read Aloud Day,” said Catherine Wilson, Acting Chief Executive Officer of United Way of Essex and West Hudson. “It is imperative that we empower our children and align them with the necessary tools for success. The My Very Own Library program reinforces the importance of reading and students with a broad selection of books that will allow them to build home libraries; bringing the importance of literacy beyond the classroom.”

“It is so important to develop programs that promote literacy in our communities and cultivate a love of reading from an early age in our young people,” said Kimberly Baxter McLain, President of the Foundation for Newark’s Future, which founded MVOL. “A cross-section of leaders from both Newark and around the country are standing united to ensure that Newark’s youth and families have access to high quality books and the tools necessary to foster a community-wide love of literacy. The Foundation for Newark’s Future is proud to impact thousands of Newark children and families through our research-based literacy initiatives and thrilled to join so many community organizations in this partnership.”

The City of Newark is one of six MVOL locations throughout the country including Chicago, Milwaukee, California, Delaware, and the Dominican Republic, all of which hosted World Read Aloud Day events.

About World Read Aloud Day

World Read Aloud Day motivates children, teens, and adults worldwide to celebrate the power of words and creates a community of readers taking action to show the world that the right to literacy belongs to all people. World Read Aloud Day is celebrated by millions of people in more than 100 countries thanks to people like you who participate and spread the word across the globe.

About LitWorld

LitWorld is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization empowering young people to author lives of independence through quality literacy learning experiences. Founded by renowned author and literacy expert Pam Allyn, LitWorld creates global change by increasing literacy rates across the United States and worldwide in 25 countries. With over 750 million people in the world who cannot read, LitWorld plays an important and pivotal role in advocating for children’s rights as readers. Serving children living in challenging environments, the LitWorld best practices for reading, writing and storytelling are replicated across the world.

About Pam Allyn

Pam Allyn is a world-renowned literacy expert, author and motivational speaker. She is the founding director of LitWorld, a global literacy initiative serving children across the United States and in more than 60 countries, and LitLife, a cutting-edge consulting group working with schools to enrich best practice teaching methods and building curriculum for reading and writing. With her team at LitWorld, Pam created and leads World Read Aloud Day, a worldwide tribute to the power of literacy that happens every March.

About FNF

Foundation for Newark’s Future is an education foundation working to improve educational outcomes for Newark students. The Foundation is part of a $200 million campaign for Newark’s public schools, established in 2010 with a $100 million matching grant from Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, and quickly met with a $25M investment by the Pershing Square Foundation, among others. The Foundation invests in programs and initiatives across Newark that create large-scale change through short-term philanthropy.

My Very Own Library

My Very Own Library (MVOL) encourages and supports students’ love of reading by providing them the opportunity to choose brand new, free books to build their own home libraries. MVOL is rooted in research indicating that students foster a life-long love of reading and demonstrate stronger literacy skills as they build home libraries. MVOL is a comprehensive literacy program that could be replicated in other schools and communities.