John Monfredo: Join in and support Reading Week in Worcester

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Research continues to point out that reading regularly increases vocabulary and improves skills. Developing your child’s reading and comprehension early on in their education also means you are preparing them for the real world.

John Monfredo

Courtesy LinkedIn

John Monfredo

Reading opens many doors to help children become successful in life. If you can read, you have open to you the world of knowledge for fluency in language. Consequently, communication skills are improved by reading.

Worcester: The City that Reads, an organization founded by my wife, Anne-Marie, and me 11 years ago has attempted to use every opportunity available to highlight the importance of literacy in this community.

We need to put the importance of reading in the forefront of this community as often as possible.


Sun flashback: Check out our editorial, Give a kid a book, from April 10


A proclamation was read by Mayor Joseph M. Petty at the School Committee meeting last Thursday [June 2] declaring the importance of the Give a Book program and designating the week of June 5-11 as “Reading in Our City Week.”

Activities for the week are as follows:

During Reading Week, the 40,000 books collected by Worcester: The City that Reads will be given out to Worcester Public Schools students, Head Start, Rainbow Child Development Center, Plumley Village housing complex, Friendly House and other social organizations for summer reading.

In 11 years we have given out more than 400,000 books in this city.

Worcester Public Schools will launch its “Summer Reading Kick off” and coordinate its efforts with the Worcester Public Library. The Office of Curriculum and Professional Development will be distributing the Summer Reading Lists with writing assignments to all WPS students.

The list, writing assignments and model responses are posted on worcesterschools.org. The mandated summer reading program (reading of five books) will also give parents many ideas to assist their child in reading.

It is essential that parents pay attention to the summer reading assignments and encourage their child to read throughout the summer. Parents have to encourage their child to read at home each and every day during the summer months!

June5-DayofPlay-MonfredoWorcester Public School nurses and Health Center nurses will be wearing “Read” buttons as a way of supporting the reading activities throughout the week. The message for everyone is: READ! In addition, our nurses will take the time during the week to read to the students. Adult Learning through HiSet Test [GED equivalent] and ESL Program will celebrate reading with literacy programs, and Head Start will take books on the move to the homes of the children.

Dr. Matilde Castiel, Worcester’s commissioner of Health and Human Services, will be having her staff read to students, as will UMass Memorial Health Care. Girls, Inc. will engage its students in spelling bees using the 100 high-frequency words that are essential for reading fluency and reading success, and the girls will act out characters in books through pantomime and have the girls engage in a team vocabulary game.

Rainbow Child Development Center will open a new internal children’s lending library and parents will be encouraged to sign on to receive Worcester READS messages via text. In addition, during the week each book that is read will be recorded on a book shape and posted on the walls of the corridors. Also, the Belmont A.M.E. Zion Church will be promoting its “Yes, We Care” after-school program during the week, highlighting the importance of reading.

During Reading in Our City Week, the YWCA of Central Mass. Early Education and Childcare Department will focus on encouraging reading at home. They will distribute books to take home, activities that encourage reading and writing, give out information on ways to read to children and ways to encourage a child to read. City Manager Edward M. Augustus Jr. will be visiting to read to the children.

Plumley Village will be setting up tables so as children get off the bus from school, their parents will be encouraged to sign them up for the “Catch the Reading Bug Program,” a seven-week camp and literacy program that kicks off on June 18 and will run 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays.

Mass Audubon’s Broad Meadow Brook Conservation Center and Wildlife Sanctuary will be participating by welcoming all participants to enjoy their new Clem’s Corner in the visitor center, a place to relax with a good book on nature. In addition, guests may incorporate reading into an adventure on the trails of the sanctuary or go on a Worcester Reads scavenger hunt.

African Community Education will have its students reading comic books and graphic novels while taking photos in superhero costumes that they made themselves out of recycled materials.

The Worcester Public Library, a key player in promoting reading in the community, will once again have many special programs going on during Reading Week as well as during the summer months, and it encourages everyone to visit its website (listed above) for more information.

The Worcester Bravehearts, an organization that has continued to encourage literacy within the community, will hold a Baseball in Education Day and give out tickets to home games to the children who completed their work in the Reading Home Run Club sponsored by Worcester: The City that Reads.

The Worcester Education Collaborative will continue to work on literacy skills with parents and students in a number of schools during the week.


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The week will cap off on June 11 with Edward Street Child Services sponsoring its annual “Day of Play Family Festival” from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Elm Park. Activities will include Literary Character Pete the Cat, a book reading of “Pete the Cat: Construction Destruction” by James Dean, book-related literacy projects such as design your own playground, and a host of literacy activities. There will also be picnic blankets with books for families to enjoy together. Also, Peep and Chirp from WGBH’s “Peep and the Big Wide World” will be on hand.

At the other end of Worcester on the same day, the Worcester Convoy of Hope will have its event from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. at University Park. Volunteers hope to mobilize hundreds of area residents to serve and make a difference in their community. This is a collaborative effort to provide thousands of struggling people in our city with groceries, health services, community services, job fairs, family portraits, haircuts, prayer, and games and activities for children. All of this is FREE to each guest. Also, free books, courtesy of Worcester: The City that Reads, will be given out.

We have the momentum going in our quest to highlight reading in our community. We have two mobiles libraries, Libby and Lilly, leading the way throughout the city this summer and we have Worcester: The City that Reads putting books into the hands of our children.

It’s a great start, but more needs to be done, so please join us for this special week and continue to do what you can to make Worcester: The City that Reads.

John Monfredo is a member of the Worcester School Committee, a former principal in the Worcester Public Schools, and co-founder of “Worcester: The City that Reads.”

One thought on “John Monfredo: Join in and support Reading Week in Worcester

  1. John: Rich Tarkiainen (HSC ’58) checking-in to say hello and continue your good job in education. By the way, I’m a retired HS biology teacher living in Fatrbanks, AK (been up here 51 years). Give me a touch if you receive.

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