04/16/2013 03:41 pm ET Updated Jun 16, 2013

More Children to our New Reading Center!

Our Grand Opening date is June 5th in NYC for our new, bigger Pajama Program Reading Center.

Our Literacy Program's goal is focused on lifelong learning and upon making a positive impact on the growth of our student readers. To this end we're making plans to fill our space with thousands of children pre-K through teenagers. Our best days will be when each of our three reading rooms here are filled with children reading, sharing, and dreaming about their futures. We plan to offer programs and support to help them get to the next step of their lives, whether for them it's the next day or a handful of years from now.

The children we see are sometimes shy and tentative... they have been through great trauma in their young lives. I often wonder if they live with scary ghosts in their heads instead of fun, imaginary friends.

Some visit our Reading Center, receive new pajamas and books here, and then before they leave ask:

"When do I have to give these back?"

They are surprised when we tell them the gifts are theirs to keep.

We want to change their question to:

"Can I have more books?!"

So we can answer,


Our programs here will include author storytelling visits for our youngest readers so we can assess the children's understanding of text and their motivation to read. We will be reading aloud books ahead of children's own reading ability to build vocabulary and knowledge orally. We will assess children's comprehension of fiction and non-fiction texts in connection to our programing of these author events.

Our sessions for tweens and teens center around various topics including money matters and poetry which we have witnessed resonate with our 12-17 population. The ultimate goal for teens is to enhance literacy with the use of technology. The best tool to develop literate students in the digital age is blogging. No other tool allows students to read and write in a way that allows them to interpret and create a wide array of media messages. Blogs allow students to develop 21st Century Literacies as defined by NCTE (2008). We will measure reader's proficiency with technology and assessments will monitor how our readers will gather, comprehend and use information from texts, books, articles, and web-based resources to create their own authentic writings.

A very special element of Pajama Program is the actual pair of pajamas each child receives. Our purpose was founded on giving children in need books to nurture their minds and pajamas to comfort their hearts -- both to settle them into a sweet slumber when they may be fighting off nightmares and those scary ghosts.

We can't wait to cut the ribbon June 5th and fill up our rooms with children hungry for books and looking for a refuge. We can start by giving them back their dreams... and scaring those ghosts away.

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