Raising Readers

If you want to raise a reader, be a
reader. Make the space, and time,
for books you read for yourself.

The New York Times

Rita Williams-Garcia with Raising Readers participants. Photo credit: Christian Rodriguez

Born out of a partnership with the NYC Department of Youth & Community Development (DYCD), the Raising Readers initiative aims to empower adults who work with and raise children to expand their own love of books and reading, in order to better model the habit of reading for pleasure with the young people in their lives. This innovative program provides paid professional development training for out-of-school time provider staff who work with young people through after-school and summer programs, and pairs staff with NBF teaching artists to collaboratively run book clubs for parents at sites across New York City, complete with book giveaways, high-profile author talks, and book shopping opportunities for participants.

For more details, email Deputy Director, Jordan Smith.

Various Raising Readers program activities from 2018, including an author visit from Ibi Zoboi (top). Photo credit: Christian Rodriguez


The 2020 Raising Readers program focused exclusively on New York City Housing Authority Community Centers.

  • Mosholu Montefiore Community Center at Edenwald Houses
  • SCAN at Kings Towers
  • South Jamaica Cornerstone Community Center


  • Aspira of New York, Inc. at JHS 131 Albert Einstein
  • Chinese American Planning Council at PS 153
  • Community Mediation Services at PS 8 Robert Fulton
  • El Puente de Williamsburg at Taylor Wythe
  • Good Shepherds Services at MS 206
  • Graham-Windham Harlem Beacon
  • HANAC at PS 2
  • SCAN at Coalition School for Social Change
  • Sports and Arts In Schools Foundation at CS 134X
  • NIA Community Services at PS 179 Kensington
  • Queens Community House Inc. at PS 86Q
  • Queens Community House Inc. at MS 358


  • Chinese American Planning Council at CPC Chung Pak
  • HANAC at PS 212
  • New York Junior Tennis League and JHS 383
  • Oasis Community Corporation at Brownsville Collaborative Middle School
  • Police Athletic League, Wynn Center
  • Phipps Neighborhood, Inc. at Institute of Mathematics
  • Research Foundation of CUNY at Bronx School for Law, Government, and Justice
  • Research Foundation of CUNY at PS 181
  • University Settlement at East Side Community High School
  • Union Settlement at PS 138

An American Marriage book cover Another Brooklyn book cover, 2016 Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates book cover, 2015 Educated by Tara Westover

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
Me Talk Pretty One Day, by David Sedaris book cover
Pachinko by Min Jin LeeA Place for Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo Tell Me How It Ends by Valeria Luiselli That Kind of Mother by Rumaan AlamThe Turner House by Angela FlournoyWe The Animals, by Justin Torres book cover


Selected in January 2019, these 14 books formed the foundation of reading and discussion activities. Staff and parent participants each received individual copies.

The 2019 Reading List can be found here.
The 2018 Reading List can be found here.

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