Tag Archives: reading

Worcester Public Library Launches Summer Reading Program! Kickoff Events June 17 & 18!

ICT editor Rosalie gets lots of musico at the library!

The 2016 Summer Reading program kicks off Friday, June 17 at all WPLibrary Branches and on Saturday, June 18, at the Worcester Public Library Main Branch.

This year’s theme is “Wellness, Fitness, and Sports” – with loads of free programs being offered through August 20 at the Main Library and all branches.

Participants are eligible for prizes for reading and participating in programs.

All ages are invited to sign up for summer reading at mywpl.org or at any library location.

“The 2016 Worcester Public Library Summer Reading Program will be all about healthy minds and bodies this year,” said Sondra Murphy, Youth Services Coordinator for the Worcester Public Library. “This year’s nationwide Summer Reading theme encourages participants to read, play, and exercise! Both reading and healthy activity are incredibly important for the development of young learners, and the Summertime is the perfect time to find a shady spot and read for fun!”

All branch locations will be hosting special kickoff celebrations with tons of fun, fitness & wellness activities.

On Friday, June 17, the Frances Perkins Branch will be hosting a celebration from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m.;

The Great Brook Valley Branch will be holding their kickoff from 3:00 to 4:30 p.m.;

and the One City, One Library Branches: Burncoat, Goddard, Roosevelt, and Tatnuck Magnet, will be holding their events from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m.

There will be crafts, games, entertainment, and health & wellness activities at each location.

The Main Library will host a kickoff celebration on Saturday, June 18, from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. The event will feature refreshments, entertainment, games, crafts, and other family fun activities. The Teen program will include Henna tattoos and a giant bowling game.

“This year we are anticipating a huge turnout for summer reading, and we are currently planning all the great activities,” said Linnea Sheldon, Community Relations and Communications Manager for the Worcester Public Library. “Summer reading helps keep children excited about reading, and the events and incentives help keep them interested and engaged. It’s not just for the kids either. We have programs for all ages, so we encourage our entire community to participate.”

The Summer Reading Program is a fun and exciting way to keep the community reading. Special health and fitness-related programs will be held all summer, and readers of all ages are encouraged to track their reading online.

The adult program will offer classes on health and wellness, including learning about Superfoods, Tai Chi, yoga, and hula hoop, to help you on your fitness journey.

Go, Worcester Public Library, go!!!


Worcester Public Library

3 Salem Square

WEDNESDAY, February 25

6:30 pm –7:30 pm

MONDAYS, March 2, March 30

10 am -11 am


6:30 pm – 7:30 pm

Worcester Public Library – Children’s Program Room

Please encourage family and friends to attend!

“Every Child Ready to Read ” is an exciting new WORKSHOP series that helps parents, teachers, caregivers and other adults working with children to set up the right environment to raise a reader.

In addition to these workshops, the library’s Youth Services librarians have built in new programs and story times (in English/Spanish) that help demonstrate how to use the early literacy skills of talking, singing, reading, writing, and playing. These are the five practices children must know before they can learn to read.

For more information about upcoming Every Child Ready to Read® workshops, storytimes, other materials and resources for parents and caregivers, please see the events page at www.worcpublib.org or call the library at (508) 799-1671.

Today! BOOK SALE at Worcester Public Library, Salem Square! … and MORE HOURS for the Great Brook Valley branch!

Today! Saturday, November 15

Book Sale!

Worcester Public Library

Salem Square

10 a.m. – 4 p.m. – in the Saxe Room

Be there!!


Today might be a good day to check out our city’s main library! (after you go to the book sale)  There are the relatively new library spaces to visit: a bigger, better library book shop filled with lots of other cool stuff besides books – stuff  that you can buy for a song. Your $$ goes to supporting library events for the whole family!

Then there’s the library cafe – yummy muffins and such on sale there. You can enjoy your snack at the little cafe tables outside the library store. Bring your lap tops and enjoy free wi fi at your cafe  tables!

Outside you’ll probably see our city’s two library book mobiles parked in the library lot to the side of the building: LIBBY ( big, converted school bus) AND LILLY (little, converted bus). It would be nice if the WPL opened them up for the public to see. Check out the inside of one of these vehicles and be impressed, like we were several months ago!

WHILE WE THINK ALL THIS IS GREAT, it’s a SHAME that the Worcester Public Library is under-serving some Worcester residents, especially kids.

Our library system’s GREAT BROOK VALLEY BRANCH is open only THREE HOURS A DAY!  Just THREE hours a day!

We are told the Great Brook Valley branch, in one of our city’ s poorest (some would say one of our most challenging) public housing complexes, is JAM PACKED WITH KIDS! All the time!

GBV KIDS and families WHO LOVE going to their branch library. To do homework, to check out books, music, movies … to have a safe place to have fun and learn.

Why isn’t the Great Brook Valley WPL branch open more hours? THREE HOURS A DAY just doesn’t cut it for kids and families starving for resources.

There’s such a need at GBV! The public library is such a positive place!

Here’s hoping the Worcester City Council opens the POPULAR GBV library branch for at least FIVE HOURS a day!

– Rosalie Tirella

Vacation times!

By Edith Morgan

School’s out and it’s time to celebrate, relax, rest,  hang out. Then the boredom sets in. “There’s nothing to do!!” is the wail heard throughout the land.

Of course, as we were growing up, we rarely resorted to that plaint: our parents would respond with a list of chores, books to read, study of subjects where we had not demonstrated stellar performance, and suggestions as to how we could make ourselves useful to others, by volunteering, writing to the sick and shut-in, or, if we were old enough, to get a job. I remember babysitting, cleaning houses, and one summer in high school stuffing envelopes for Senator Judd in Minnesota (at 50 cents an hour!).

But more than anything I remember summer as a time to read, read, read – voraciously devouring books by one author ( I went through a Galsworthy period, triggered by an English class – as were several other such pursuits), and reading anything in print that I could get. To my parents’ dismay, a group of us in the neighborhood used to get together and read comics, which at that time could be bought for 10 cents each, and traded in for anywhere from 1 cent to 5 cents –thus having an unending supply of comics. ( Had I kept them, they would be valuable collectors’ items today……)My point is, we were never bored, and time went fast.

As the occasional firecracker goes off in the area, I am reminded that Fourth of July is the major holiday of the summer. How far we have come from the original celebrations of my youth: it was a patriotic holiday, and we had read, and sometimes memorized parts of, the Declaration of Independence. And ever since, particularly recently, as I watch events unfolding here and around the world, I go back and re-read that marvelous document – marvelous not only in the great ideas it contains, but in the grace with which they are expressed. How sad it is that so many Americans do not really know what it says, let alone how it says it.

A few years ago some researcher went about asking people if they know from where came this starting phrase:”When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for one people ……etc..”, and the other one : “WE the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union,…….etc..”.As a teacher, I was terribly saddened that so many people could not identify the first as the beginning of the Declaration of Independence, and the second as the beginning of the U.S.Constitution. Even worse, too many did not know what these two basic documents contained, and made outrageous claims as to what rights they gave them, going so far as to assert that the constitution gave us the right to happiness.

So I hope that we all should take time, this vacation, to re-examine the original words of the Declaration of Independence, ponder what they mean, and, as the “rockets’ red glare” illuminate our skies, understand a bit more about what is happening in so many parts of the world as well as here, where we are redefining what our basic rights and responsibilities are, and how we can achieve them.

Charles Dickens returns to Mechanics Hall!

Dickens Returns to Mechanics Hall
Friday, September 21, 8 PM
Tickets: $20 – $35

Charles Dickens first came to Worcester in 1842. He returned in March of 1868 to perform A Christmas Carol to a sold-out Mechanics Hall.

His great-great-grandson, Gerald Charles Dickens, will recreate that evening using his own adaptation of the classic Christmas tale. Gerald plays over 30 characters using his vocal and physical talents to bring each scene vividly to life.

Relive Worcester’s history!

For tickets call (508) 752-0888.

The case against summer vacation! Why? Because it means a “slide” for our students!

By John Monfredo, Worcester School Committee

Only kidding! But now that I have your attention, let’s look at why we should be concerned about students losing academic growth in the summer because literacy activities are not taking place. Yes, this is referred to by many as the “SUMMER SLIDE.” Deprived of healthy learning, millions of low-income students lose a considerable amount of what they learned during the school year.

A study by Johns Hopkins University adds to the mounting evidence of the “Summer Slide.” Inner-city or low-income students start out behind their more middle-class students and fall behind each year with most of that loss occurring when school is out. By the end of the elementary school years, Hopkins researchers found low-income children trail middle-income classmates, in some cases, by three grade levels.

“Children whose parents are college-educated continue to build their reading skills during the summer months,” said Karl Alexander, a Hopkins sociology professor involved in the research. “You go to a museum or you to a library or you go to the science center, and through osmosis you make some headway there.”

Professor Alexander, in his 2007 study at Johns Hopkins University, stated that two thirds of the reading achievement gap between 9th graders of low-and high-socioeconomic standing in Baltimore public schools can be traced to what they learned or failed to learn over their childhood summers. The study, which tracked data from about 325 Baltimore students from 1’st grade to age 22, points out that various characteristics that depend heavily on reading ability, such as students’ curriculum tract in high school, their risk of dropping out, and their probability of pursing higher education and landing higher paying jobs, all diverge widely according to socioeconomic levels. Does this happen in other advanced industrial countries? According to Mr. Alexander, the answer is NO, for those countries go to school 230 to 240 days a year as compared to 180 in the United States.

Low-income children actually keep pace with more affluent students during the academic year but slip behind during the summer. Researchers feel that during the school year, children in both affluent and lower–income communities benefit from the “faucet theory.” Learning resources are “turned on” for ALL CHILDREN during the school year, but in the summertime the faucet is turned off. Middle-class parents can make up the loss with their own resources, but working class and poor parents have a difficult time creating enriched learning experiences for their children over the summer months. All parents want the same things for their children, but low-income parents do not have the same access to opportunities for their children.

Summer deserves attention because when it starts, learning STOPS for many children. Children without resources spend their summer months playing on street corners or in front of the television. By the time the bell rings on a new school year, the low-income students have fallen months behind.

Given this powerful evidence, what can we do to turn on the LEARNING FAUCET during the summer? Experts believe that what is needed is a lengthening of the school year if we are to make a difference in the education of our low-income students. Due to the cost, however, it is just not going to happen. So what can we do about this intenable situation?
This year, the Worcester public schools system has expanded its summer program having it start July 5th and ends on July 29th. Academic program hours will be 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. In addition, five schools, Canterbury Street, Clark Street, Norrback, Elm Park and Quinsigamond, will offer programs from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. Recreational activities will take place during those hours. The academic sites are as follows: Belmont, Burncoat, Canterbury, Chandler Elementary, Jacob Hiatt, Chandler, City View, Clark Street, Norrback, Columbus Park, Goddard, UPCS, Elm Park, Grafton Street, Heard Street, Lake View, Lincoln Street, May Street, McGrath, Quinsigamond, Rice Square, Roosevelt, Tatnuck Magnet, Thorndyke, Union Hill, Vernon Hill, Wawecus, Woodland and Worcester Arts Magnet.

I would urge parents to sign up now to attend one of those school sites!

As a former school principal I am convinced that the research on the “summer slide” is real and we need, as a school system and as a community, to do something about it. At the Worcester School Committee level, I have advocated for more reading for our children during the summer time and have asked that some school libraries give our parents and children an opportunity to take out books for summer reading. Many parents, due to transportation or work, cannot get their children to the Worcester Public Library. Allowing our children to take out books at their neighborhood schools will put books into their hands. I have also asked that through Connect Ed, (a way of calling all parents in Worcester), we call during the summer to remind our parents and students about their summer reading assignments. I have also asked that math ideas be given to our parents for summer practice. I would advocate that our students practice and master their math facts through math games and flash cards.

I have also advocated that we remind our parents about the importance of reading to their child EACH and EVERY night. With that in mind, I filed an order to have our schools talk about this issue with our parents. If we could get our parents to read just 25 minutes a night, we could revolutionize public education. Finally, I have asked that every school have a “Summer Reading Kick-off” during the week of June 12 and invite our parents to attend. Parents need to know the facts about the summer slide and what they can do to assist their child during vacation time. At the “kick-off” the schools will give students books from the “Worcester: The City that Reads Committee” as mentioned in our last issue and alert parents about our mandatory summer reading program. Children from grades K to grade 8 will read at least FIVE books during the summer. Parents will get instructions on how to choose a book and about writing a summary paragraph about the books. In grades 9-12, the students will read three books and write a multi-paragraph response for each book read.

Other ideas for parents to consider:

• Visit your Public Library and participate in Public Library summer programs; make sure that your child is reading a book each and every day. Use opportunities like the new Harry Potter release to get your child to read or take out a book based on a movie that he may want to see.

• There are many summer camps in almost every price range. Check with your school, the YMCA, YWCA, Boys and Girls Club, Friendly House, Rainbow Child Development, for these organizations offer programs that can assist your child in learning while they have fun, too.

• Take educational trips, which can be low-cost visits to parks and museums in Worcester. If you have a car, visit educational sites such as Old Sturbridge Village. Check with the Worcester Public Library, for they have free passes to local museums.

• Work with your child on a hobby. If they are interested in comics or technology, you may want to expose them to as many opportunities as possible.

• Practice math skills every day. Think about opportunities through cooking to learn fractions or trips to the grocery store as a way of learning math skills. Also, every time you’re going for a walk or for a ride in the car ask them some math facts or make it into a game. Just playing cards on the grass could turn into a math game. Example: you turn over a card- 9- and your child turns over a card – 6- you could multiple, add or subtract. As you travel or walk in the city, do you think you’ll be stopped by more red lights or be able to go with more green lights? Keep a tally to check your guess. Pizzas offer a chance to talk about shapes and fractions. As you cut a pizza into equal pieces, count the pieces and describe the pieces with their fraction names. For example, if you cut it into 4 pieces, then each piece is 1/4th of the whole pizza.

• Limit time with the TV and video games. Just like during the school year, there should be a similar strategy over the summer months. It always makes sense to provide structure and limits. The key is providing a balance and keeping your child engaged.

Parents can also sneak some academics into summer for their child from pre-school to middle school with the activities below:

• Family Night each week. Bring out the popcorn and read a book. Try once in a while to get a book based on a movie. Then, show the movie and see if the book followed the movie script. Many movies can be obtained at the Worcester Public Library.

• Let the Games Begin – Janet Braverman, math specialist from Reston, Virginia, recommends playing board games and cards with children. Anything with numbers or counting helps. She plays Monopoly Junior and feels that it’s a fun way to learn addition, subtraction and counting money.

• If you are able to go to the beach, try collecting seashells and count them. Try drawing circles in the sand, size of a dinner plate, and have children place the shells in the circles by fives, and then have them work on counting by five or whatever number you come up with.

• Build your child’s comprehension listening skills by having an adult read and then discuss the story with them.

• Be sure that your child has a diary in the summer time, and have your child write the highlights of his day each evening before going to bed. Other writing activities could be writing a letter to a friend, relative or even to a member of the School Committee, – me! It’s important that your child writes, for the more that he writes, just like reading, the better he will become with this skill. In addition, be sure to have your child write about their favorite book that they read this summer and send their essay to me – John Monfredo, 8 Cherokee Road Worcester, Ma., 01606. I will select the winning essays from grades K to three, grades 4 to six, and from seven up. The winners will be awarded new books.

• Listen to your child read. Use strategies to help your child with tricky words. For example, when your child comes to an unfamiliar word, you might say, “Skip it and read to the end of the sentence. Now try again. What makes sense and looks like the word that you see?”
I sincerely hope that I have raised parents’ awareness of the importance of supporting their children’s learning in the summer time in reading and math and by providing ideas that can be done at home. Parents, you are the child’s first and most important teacher. It is up to you to provide the needed guidance during summer time. You can prevent the “summer slide” – I have the confidence that you will do it.

News from South Worcester’s SWNIC

We start week two of our Summer Camp programs!

To date: South Worcester Neighborhood Improvement Corp. has 71 children attending.
Green Island Neighborhood Center (at Crompton Park) has 35 children enrolled.

The seven interns from the College of the Holy Cross are wonderful. Highly organized and energized, they have executed a good program for the kids. We have all six weeks scheduled out with a full and rich program.

Minor issues are as expected: lack of particular supplies and a need for swim suits. (The new pool at Crompton Park does not allow cut-offs or shorts.)

Reading is each day at 12:30 p.m., moved up a half hour so we could prepare better for swim time.

Thankful to all of you for making this happen on behalf of the children of South Worcester and Green Island.

Ron Charette, Executive Director SWNIC

A note from InCity Times: If you would like to donate swim wear (new, hopefully) to the kids in SWNIC’s summer program, please drop off donations to the center, on Camp Street (past the handball courts).

SWNIC is pleased to announce that we are now a referral agency for Dress for Success – Worcester. Through them we can now assist with women’s professional clothing for interviews, internships, job fairs and employment.

Our clients are also be eligible for additional programs:

Going Places Network

A twelve-week program to help you secure employment.

Confidence Building
Career Development
Resume & Cover Letter Assistance
Interview Preparation
Next Session Starts in mid-summer

Professional Women’s Group

Keep your job and turn it into a career.

Designed Just for Working Women
Monthly Meetings Featuring Expert Speakers
Ongoing Career Support & Training
Networking Opportunities & Professional Mentors
Incentives & Prizes for Continued Involvement

Thank you,

Denise G. Minor
Development Director

Worcester’s Level 4 Schools, Union Hill and Chandler Elementary: Moving forward!

By John Monfredo, Worcester School Committee

“Turning around persistently low-achieving schools requires a new way of doing the work that is transformative for the students and teachers in the school… the nature of the work demands a new vision for redesigning the schools and how districts support schools in that process. Bold action is required.”
– Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education

Back in March of 2010 the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education announced its list of 35 Level 4 schools. A school is deemed “Level 4” if its achievement is in the lowest 4 percent of schools statewide. Two schools in Worcester were on the list: Chandler Elementary and Union Hill School.

The new law, signed by Governor Deval Patrick last January, is designed to close the persistent achievement gap between the schools in poorer communities and those in richer communities. However, as mentioned in previous articles, the idea of closing the achievement gap is a difficult choice, for the administration had a variety of punitive options to choose and the least restrictive was the removal of the principal. Thus, that was what Dr. Boone, Superintendent of Schools in Worcester, chose. The decision was supported by the Worcester School Committee.

At that time Dr. Boone stated, “These schools have worked extremely hard to provide a high-quality of educational opportunities for all the students enrolled there. While significant progress has been made, we acknowledge that the rate of progress has not met the state and federal benchmarks Continue reading Worcester’s Level 4 Schools, Union Hill and Chandler Elementary: Moving forward!

Please support the Reach Out and Read program

By State Rep. Vincent Pedone

Early childhood is the most important time during a person’s life, and as parents we have a responsibility to provide our children with the best possible education during these formative years.

Language skills, in particular, are developed at a very young age. It is proven that children who begin school with strong language skills will be better students. Unfortunately, 34 percent of American children today enter kindergarten lacking the basic language skills they need to learn to read. It is crucial, then, that we improve our home learning environment to ensure that our children are ready to learn when they enter school.

Reach Out and Read is a non-profit, Massachusetts-founded organization that addresses this necessity and helps prepare our children to succeed in school. Started by pediatricians and early childhood educators, this highly successful public-private program encourages parents to read aloud to children and make a difference in their developmental skills.

15 Worcester hospitals, clinics and doctor offices participate in Reach Out and Read, and our community has witnessed the benefits. Through these programs, doctors and nurses go beyond standard medical care procedures and advise parents on how to read to children at each developmental stage. Pediatricians give patients a book to take home every time they visit to encourage parents to make reading aloud a routine activity at home.

The impact is significant, and the cost is minimal. Children served by Reach Out and Read score significantly higher on vocabulary tests and enjoy a six-month developmental gain in their preschool years. It also encourages parents to take an active role in their child’s education. And since doctors and nurses volunteer their time with Reach Out and Read, the only primary expense is the cost of the children’s books. Continue reading Please support the Reach Out and Read program

Immigration in Worcester

By Laurie T. D’Amico

A visit to the genealogy department of the Worcester Public library, any day of the week, will reveal a multicultural interest in Worcester’s past. In 1908, Americans saw an enormous in pouring of immigrants- in fact one of the greatest human migrations in history was spread throughout the North east portion of our country. Catholics, Jews, Protestants, Irish, Poles, Italians, Swedes, Czechs, Slovaks, Iranians, Lebanese, Danes, Norwegians, Lithuanians, Syrians and other Asians came to reside in Worcester.

Today Worcester welcomes people from Vietnam, Venezuela, Somalia, Romania, Laos, Liberia, Columbia, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Burundi, Nepal Brazil and Bhutan (as well as 28 other countries). The countries may be different from 1908 but the reasons for coming to America “the land of opportunity” have not changed. Continue reading Immigration in Worcester