Beginning this month, Hillside’s Education teams are writing a new chapter in the promotion of literacy among students served by the agency.

The new Hillside Reads literacy initiative aims to foster a love of reading among youth in Hillside’s schools. A variety of events served to launch the initiative in February, and will continue throughout the academic year.

At Hillside’s Halpern Education Center in Webster, where students attend school as part of day treatment programming, a kickoff celebration included games and activities centered on reading, and a booksigning event by Wilfredo “Freddy” Gonzalez, a 20-year veteran teaching assistant at the school who is also a published author.

For the month of March, visiting readers are being recruited to come to Hillside’s school sites at Halpern and at Hillside’s residential campuses in Rochester, Gates, Auburn and Bath, NY. Literacy committees formed at each school will continue to develop ongoing activities including book clubs, community book drives, games and celebrations.

During the first year of the initiative, minutes spent reading will be recorded at each school site—creating a benchmark against which future classes can engage in friendly competition.

“Students served by Hillside face many of the same challenges as students everywhere—including increased competition for their attention that can lead to decreased enthusiasm for reading,” said Colleen Hill, Executive Director of Education. “With the Hillside Reads initiative, we’re working to find new and exciting ways to help young people embrace the simple joy of reading.”

Look for more news on Hillside Reads in the months to come.

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