HPS Promotes Literacy with Read for the Record Event

HPS Promotes Literacy with Read for the Record Event

On November 7, Hartford Public Schools joined with United Way, volunteers, and partners from across the city to celebrate reading. Jumpstart Read for the Record is an annual event that highlights the importance of early literacy in student success. It brings adults into the classroom with students to spend some focused time reading together.

At Burns Latino Studies Academy, dozens of volunteer readers joined Principal Victor Cristofaro, Superintendent Leslie Torres-Rodriguez, United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut President and CEO Paula Gilberto, and other partners to kick off the morning event.

Hartford Public Schools volunteers welcome volunteer readers, including United Way’s Paula Gilberto (r.)

Hartford Public Schools volunteers. led by Vanessa Diaz-Valencia, Assistant Director of Curriculum, Instruction, and Programs (l.)

Devoted partners ShoulderUp: United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut President and CEO Paula Gilberto (l.) and Superintendent Leslie Torres-Rodriguez (r.)


Volunteer readers from Hartford Public Library gets ready to read to a third-grade class!

Cristofaro marveled at the willingness of adults to take time out of their day to read to students. “I don’t want you to underestimate how much this really means to us, how much this means to our students,” he said. “We all know how important reading is, how important it is to read at grade level, what the implications are for success for students reading at grade level. The way that we make this happen is to spark an interest; turn on that light to make them want to read on their own.”

Superintendent Torres-Rodriguez echoed that sentiment. “When we think about Read for the Record, for us at Hartford Public Schools, that is one way we, along with our partners, highlight the importance of making sure we are building early literacy, especially for our early learners. And we’re supporting one of our major goals, which is making sure to continue to increase the number of students that are reading at grade level.”

Reading at grade level, especially by third grade, is a critical indicator of student success, she explained. Research shows that when students fall behind, they risk never catching up and they are less likely to graduate.

Mayor Luke Bronin also came to the event to lend his support, making it a truly citywide effort. After opening remarks, volunteers traveled to different schools in the district to read to third-grade classrooms. The book they all shared was “Thank You, Omu!” by Oge Mora, which tells the story of a generous elderly women who makes a fantastic pot of thick red stew. It is a book about how giving breeds gratitude, generosity, and kindness.

While volunteer readers spread out far and wide throughout the district, the Superintendent read in both English and Spanish to Ms. Williams 3rd grade students at Burns, who welcomed her with special signs, a thank you card, and essays they wrote about her work and life.


Enjoy the video of Dr. Torres-Rodriguez’s lively, interactive, and dual-language reading session with Ms. Williams’ third grade class! Watch the Kick-off event with student performance!


Click here to enjoy more photos from the day’s event.