The Importance of Reading/Literacy

Parent, Educators, and Advocate:

Let us be very CLEAR, if a child is not reading at grade level by 3rd grade, then his or her chances for success in elementary and middle school, graduating from high school, and their over all ability to become problem solvers, critical thinkers and life long learners in every aspect of their life becomes a big question mark (?). With poor reading skills, will our children grow up healthy, go to college, graduate from college and begin to live self-sufficient lives via livable wage employment? Or, does illiteracy offer another scenario: unemployment, living in poverty, chronic poor health, dependent upon social service systems (at tax payers expense) and/or go straight to jail.

What is Reading Grade level (RGL)?

A number representing a person's ability to read and comprehend what they are reading, equating to a given level of schooling in which a student should be capable of reading and comprehending the written matter (i.e., a RGL of 7 is representative of an individual being able to read and comprehend 7th grade subject matter). A number representing the school grade level assigned to the complexity of reading materials. Formulas used to calculate reading grade level are usually based on length of words and sentences.

Without strong reading skills, how will our children fair in the following subjects?

  • Language Arts
  • Social Studies
  • Science
  • Mathematics
  • Social Skills

We already know the answer. There chances for academic success are slim.

What is Early Literacy?

Early Literacy Development is Paramount!
Children prepare to read long before they enter school - early literacy is everything children know about reading and writing before they can actually read and write. Early literacy is a baby who chews on a book, a toddler who wants his favorite book read over and over, and a preschooler who "reads" the story to you from memory. Early literacy skills begin to develop in the first 5 years of life.

Literacy developmental stages vary child by child and family by family. Children and Family may take a variety of routes towards reading and writing mastery; ultimately however, whatever the timetable or path, the goals are the same for all:

  • to become fluent and efficient readers and writers who can make sense of and convey meaning in written language
  • to become thinkers and communicators who are actively reviewing and analyzing information;
  • to enjoy reading and writing; and,
  • to feel successful as users of literacy for a variety of purposes.

Parents & Care Givers

For More information on Reading & Literacy programs in your area contact 2-1-1 or 1-800-203-1234 any time of day or night or visit their website

What is 2-1-1

2-1-1 is a free community service administered by the United Way of Connecticut. It is supported by the State of Connecticut and Connecticut United Ways. You can call 2-1-1 to get information, or to seek help in a crisis. We are open 24 hours a day, every day of the year.
Simply dial 2-1-1 or 1-800-203-1234 any time of day or night.

Contacting A State of Black CT Representative


Churches in Connecticut

CT Department of Mental Health & Addiction Services

CT Department of Social Services

-Potential Clients / Family and Children
-Elders / People with Disabilities
-People with HIV/AIDS / Other Adults

Programs Include:

  • SNAP(formerly known as food Stamps)
  • Husky
  • Healthy Start
  • Cash Assistance
  • (Safety Net Program)
  • Temporary Family Assitance(TFA)
  • Employment Services(Jobs First)
  • Fatherhood Initiative
  • Child Support Enforcement
  • Child Care Assistance(Care 4 Kids)
  • Grandparents as Parents(GAP)
  • Social Work Services
  • Domestic Violence
  • Housing
  • Community Services
  • Social Work
  • Families in Training
  • Preventive Services
  • Teen Pregnancy Prevention
  • Youth Violence Prevention
  • Winter Heating Aid
  • Housing Assistance
  • National Family Caregiver Support Program
  • Adult Services
  • Employment and Training
  • Aging Services Division
  • Employment
  • Nutritional Assistance Programs
  • Food Banks
  • Nutritional Assistance Programs
  • Locating Affordable Rental Housing
  • Congregate Housing
  • Emergency Homeless Shelters
  • Eviction Prevention Program
  • Homeshare Program
  • Home Care for Elders
  • Alternate Care Unit
  • Rental Assistance Program
  • Security Deposit Program
  • Shelters and Services for Victims of Domestic Violence
  • Housing - Security
  • Preventive Services to Families
  • Transitional Living Program
  • Transitionary Rental Assistance Program
  • Housing - TRAP
  • Medical
  • Medicaid (Title XIX)
  • Community Medicaid
  • Long Term Care
  • CHOICES Program (Health Insurance Assistance for Individuals with Medicare)
  • Aging Services Division – CHOICES
  • ConnTrans - Connecticut Organ Transplant Program
  • Adult Services Division
  • CHCPE - Connecticut Home Care for Elders
  • Alternate Care Unit
  • Bureau of Aging
  • Community Protective Services for the Elderly
  • Connecticut Energy Assistance Program
  • Refugee Assistance Services

Connecticut Department of Labor:

-Unemployment Benefits
-Education and Training
-Job Search and much more...

*Business Service Units in the CT Works Centers identified here provide special services directly to employers and other businesses.

  • Bridgeport
    2 Lafayette Square, Bridgeport, CT 06604
    Office Hours: Monday-Friday,8:30a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
    Tel:(203) 455-2700
  • Danbury
    152 West Street, Danbury, CT 06810
    Office Hours: Monday - Friday, 8:30a.m. to 4:30 p.m
    Tel:(203) 731-2929
  • Danielson
    95 Westcott Road, Danielson, CT 06239
    Offfice Hours:Monday-Friday, 8:30a.m. to 4:30 p.m
    Tel:(860) 412-7000
  • Enfield
    620 Enfield Street, Enfield, CT 06082
    Office Hours: Monday -Friday,8:30a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
    Tel:(860) 741-4295
  • Hamden
    37 Marne Street, Hamden, CT 06514
    Office Hours: Monday - Friday, 8:00a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
    Tel: (203) 859-3200
  • Hartford
    3580 Main Street Hartford, CT 06120
    Office Hours: Monday - Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
    Tel: (860) 256-3700
  • Meriden
    85 West Main Street, Meriden, CT 06451
    Office Hours: Monday - Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. & 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
    Tel:(203) 238-6148
  • Middletown
    645 South Main Street, Middletown, CT 06457
    Office Hours: Monday - Friday, 8:30a.m. to 4:30 p.m
    Tel: (860) 754-5000
  • New Britain
    260 Lafayette Street, New Britain, CT 06053
    Office Hours: Monday - Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
    Tel: (860) 827-6200
  • New London
    Shaw's Cove Six, New London, CT 06320
    Office Hours: Monday - Friday, 8:00a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
    Tel: (860) 439-7400
  • Norwich
    113 Salem Turnpike, North Bldg., Suite 200, Norwich, CT 06360
    Office Hours: Monday - Friday, 8:00a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
    Tel:(860) 859-5600
  • Torrington
    K-Mart Shopping Plaza, 685 Main Street, Torrington, CT 06790
    Office Hours: Monday - Friday, 8:30a.m. to 4:30 p.m
    Tel:(860) 496-3300
  • Waterbury
    249 Thomaston Avenue, Waterbury, CT 06702
    Office Hours: Monday - Friday, 8:00a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
    Tel: (203) 437-3380
  • Willimantic
    1320 Main Street, Tyler Square, Willimantic, CT 06226
    Office Hours: Monday - Friday, 8:00a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
    Tel:(860) 465-2120

Faith Communities

For many years, faith communities have played a critical role in supporting families and providing services that promote the education of children.

Whether one is a Church, Synagogue, Mosques or any other religious organization, there is a role you can play in assuring student success within your community..

This supportive role can help reduce the educational achievement gap which includes the Reading/Literacy gap.

As a State, we must ensure that children are reading at grade level by the 3rd grade.

Definition of the achievement gap:

The U.S. Department of Education describes the achievement gap as “the difference in academic performance between different ethnic groups.” Though this is a concise and useful definition, the achievement gap is, in fact, a multifaceted problem that requires examination from multiple perspectives, i.e difference in academic achievement as it relates to students whose families are of low-income.

How Can Faith Communities Help?

Faith Communities can help support children and families by:

Tutoring * Reading/literacy instruction (includes Early Literacy) * Mentoring * After school programs * Parenting support groups * Family literacy initiatives * Financial literacy workshops * Community Announcements on days of service * Attending City Council and Board of Education Meetings * Life Skills training * Conflict Resolution workshops

You can also provide other support services that build communities and promote healthy families thus improving the safety and well being of Connecticut ’s children.

*If your Church or religious organization would like training in the following areas please contact:

Gwen Samuel @ 203-443-3203 or email

  • K3 Curriculum(Know Your Child, Know Your School, Know Your Community
  • K3 4 Kids(Know Yourself,Know Your School,Know Your Community)
  • School Governance Council Development Training
  • Sustainability as it relates to Capacity Building
  • Effective Strategies to Engage Families & Working with Resistance
  • Engaging the Faith Based Community
  • C.L.A.S.S. (Church Leaders Assuring Student Success)
  • Moving Beyond Parent Involvement to Parent Engagement within Diverse Communities