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Literacy Resources in Brooklyn

Find literacy and reading resources in Brooklyn, including children's reading enrichment programs and volunteer opportunities for teens and adults.


Brooklyn Community Services

Boerum Hill

(718) 310-5620

Help children, families, and adults reach their literacy goals by registering at one of the programs offered through the BCS. Volunteers ages eight-75 work at 17 different program sites doing everything from tutoring high school and GED students and reading to kids while their parents attend counseling at one of the family centers, to facilitating a small literacy group for adults. Time commitments range from twice a year for day projects to 25 hours a week for some active retirees. All potential and participating volunteers attend a BCS 360 meeting to learn about the organization's programs and mission, and sign-up can be completed through the volunteer tab at the website or by e-mailing Allison Raaum at [email protected].


Brooklyn Public Library

Grand Army Plaza, Brooklyn

(718) 230-2212

For volunteers with as little as two hours a week to spare, the Brooklyn Public Library offers several programs for teens and adults of varying ages and strengths. ESOL Conversation Group Leaders help adults learn English; those assisting the First Five Years program work with families, showing parents or caregivers of young children age-appropriate toys and books that advance child literacy during their first five years. Reading Troubadours also stress the importance of early literacy to families by visiting healthcare clinics throughout the borough and educating parents on the benefits of reading aloud to their children. Kids ages 12-18 can opt to raise awareness of youth literacy by reading to children as well as helping with other youth programs at the library as a School Year Book Buddy. For more information on any of the above programs, visit the website or e-mail Elizabeth Lewis at [email protected].


RIF: Reading Is Fundamental

Locations throughout Brooklyn and all of New York City

Reading Is Fundamental serves children through a national network of volunteer coordinators and literacy programs in nearly 19,000 locations across the U.S., including almost 200 in the borough of Brooklyn (check the website for sites near you). The Brooklyn Public Library, the country's fifth largest library system, is proud to be RIF's largest library-based program. Last year, in New York state alone, 328,935 children selected 1,159,279 books to keep as their own. Visit the website to learn about volunteering, donating, or advocating with Congress to maintain funding beyond the current temporary funding resolution set to expire on March 4.


Urban Word

Queens, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Bronx

(212) 352-3495

Reaching out to local youths through poetry, hip-hop, and uncensored self-expression, Urban Word promotes a holistic view of literacy that goes beyond reading and writing to include societal awareness and community leadership. The program aims to foster youth leadership through literacy by giving teens ages 13-19 an arena for their unique voices by validating all forms of writing from texting and blog posts to Shakespeare and Emily Dickinson. Support this alternative to traditional literacy workshops by attending the Annual NYC Teen Poetry Slams taking place all over the city: Beginning March 6, local teens perform their original works and compete to represent New York City and defend the reigning champion title in the national poetry slam held in San Francisco. All ticket profits benefit the free workshops. Additional donations can be made through the website, and those interested in donating their time should call about becoming a "Creatively College Bound" mentor to students beginning the university admissions process. 



Also see: How to Help Your Child Be a Confident Reader

Resources: Our Education Resource Guide to the New York metro area

Our Online Calendar, for storytelling events and more in Rockland County and the New York metro area

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See a family favorite film, create some art, then take a ride on Jane's carousel and grab a bite to eat at one of the concession stands. 

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