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City’s First Readers, an initiative of New York City Council, is a collaboration of not-for-profits and public libraries with the goal of implementing community-wide early-literacy immersion programs.  We offer children additional literacy experiences at their homes, schools, daycare centers, libraries, hospitals and other key locations throughout their immediate neighborhoods.

Many of New York City’s children do not enter school with the tools they need to succeed.  We can prevent an achievement gap by surrounding children and families with opportunities to build a strong foundation in early literacy.

Endorsed by the American Pediatric Association, since 2014 City’s First Readers has worked to address the literacy crisis and education disparities facing New York City.  By investing in effective, high-quality early childhood literacy services, programs, and resources for children from birth to age 5, City’s First Readers works to ensure that all children — regardless of their social and economic backgrounds — have a solid foundation from which to start school successfully.  Early literacy provides the skills and fosters the confidence to thrive academically. This increases success beyond their school years as well, creating a positive feedback loop for individuals and for their communities.

“Read the CIty!” is a city-wide public awareness campaign that promotes the importance of reading to young children as early as possible and provides an interactive means to do so.  Look for the above advertisements from children’s book illustrators Tomie dePaola and Paul O. Zelinsky on kiosks, in subway stations and at bus stops in every New York City borough.

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Stephen Levin

Stephen Levin

Council Member

Antonio Reynoso

Antonio Reynoso

Council Member