New Haven Reads, founded to “share the joy and power of reading,” increases the literacy skills of children to empower their academic success by providing individually tailored one-on-one after-school tutoring, educational family support, and a community book bank, all at no cost to participants.
Working in partnership with families and the community, New Haven Reads envisions a Greater New Haven in which every child has the opportunity to master reading and increase the odds of becoming a successful adult. Our volunteer-based one-on-one tutoring programs, our Book Bank, and our family support initiatives will serve as a national model for other communities.
Since New Haven Reads was founded in 2001, we have supported more than 3,500 students and distributed over 1.7 million books back into the community, thanks to the help of over 2,900 volunteers.
Today, the one-on-one tutoring program serves over 500 children every week at four New Haven locations, our Book Bank distributes approximately 120,000 free books annually, and our Pre-K/Kindergarten program serves 55 children every week. With our dedicated, professional staff and the commitment of over 400 volunteers, our free literacy programs support families in need and create skilled and confident readers.
New Haven Reads transforms the lives of children, their families, and the communities they live in due to the incredible power of literacy.
New Haven Reads began in 2001 when our founder, Christine Alexander, ran a yearlong citywide literacy initiative at the request of New Haven’s mayor. Click through the slideshow below to learn about our growth and some of our milestones throughout the years!
2001: When asked to run the New Haven Reads initiative, Chris took the ball and ran with it.
2001: She organized literacy displays, story times, book drives, and more to stress the importance of literacy and encourage reading throughout greater New Haven.
2001: As part of this initiative, the first Book Bank opened in the former Chapel Square Mall.
2002: Although the citywide campaign ended, Chris kept the Book Bank going and opened in a new location on Park Street.
2002: Soon after the move, a homeschooling mother asked for help teaching her children to read, and thus, the tutoring program was born.
2005: Demand for books and tutoring services continued to grow, and by 2005, New Haven Reads became a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.
2006: Having gone through a few different spaces (Chapel Square Mall, Park St, Audubon St, and Lincoln Way), New Haven Reads opened its doors at 45 Bristol St.
2008: Like every other program at NHR, the Kindergarten program began in response to demand from the local community.
2009: The tutoring program expanded to two more locations at Science Park and the Dixwell-Yale University Learning Center.
2009: The tutoring program expanded to two more locations at Science Park and the Dixwell-Yale University Community Learning Center.
2011: NHR's founder, Chris Alexander, passed away. We continue to honor her work and legacy today.
2012: NHR hosted the inaugural Spelling Bee on the University of New Haven campus, where 42 teams competed to raise funds for NHR's literacy programs.
2012: The Spelling Bee has raised over $200,000 for NHR's literacy programs to date.
2012: NHR's tutoring program hit a big milestone and began
serving 500 students each week!
2014: NHR quietly hit another milestone and surpassed 400 tutors per week for the first time!
2015: NHR received the NewAlliance Foundation's "Hi-5" High Impact Literacy Award.
2016: The tutoring program expanded again, to our fourth location on Willow Street.
2017: NHR celebrated 15 years of tutoring at Yale’s Sterling Memorial Library. At the reception, Mayor Toni Harp helped NHR honor five volunteers and three student alumni.
2017: L-R: Ethel Berger, Stacy Spell, and Kate Coleman were honored for each volunteering more than 10 years at NHR. Not pictured: Mary Barnes and Jerry Waxman.
2017: L-R: Sally Thatch, Mi-Cha-El West, and Jailene Garzon were three of the student alumni honored at the event.
2018: NHR revealed that the corner of Bristol & Ashmun Streets had been renamed in honor of Christine Alexander.
New Haven Reads increases the literacy skills of children by providing individually tailored one-on-one after school tutoring, educational family support, and a community book bank, all at no cost to participants.