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County Launches ‘Dutchess Reads’ Initiative
Collaboration focuses on promoting reading by overcoming barriers
Poughkeepsie … With the school year winding down and the potential for “summer slide” over the long summer months, Dutchess County Executive Marcus J. Molinaro announces the launch of “Dutchess Reads,” an initiative to promote reading throughout the County by overcoming barriers to literacy. “Dutchess Reads” aims to bring literacy programs which have been proven successful in various parts of Dutchess County to other, underserved communities while supporting similar programs that are offered countywide. The various Dutchess Reads opportunities can be beneficial in preventing “summer slide,” the tendency for students to lose some of the achievement gains they made during the previous school year.
In Dutchess County, approximately 11 percent of the population lacks basic literacy skills, and approximately 15.7 percent of County residents speak a language other than English in their homes. A partnership between County Executive Molinaro, County Clerk Brad Kendall, County Legislature Chair Gregg Pulver, local libraries and literacy advocates, “Dutchess Reads” focuses on three main areas: early reading, literacy for those seeking jobs and English as a second language.
County Executive Molinaro said, “The inability to read can hold a person back in so many ways – fewer educational opportunities, lack of adequate employment, failure to properly assimilate to one’s community – and ‘Dutchess Reads’ strives to eliminate the most frequent obstacles to literacy. Great literacy programs exist throughout Dutchess County, and our goal is to share those throughout the County, providing access to all. I’m grateful to our partners for their willingness to collaborate, and I look forward to building stronger readers of all ages through ‘Dutchess Reads.’ ”
In addition to a new “Dutchess Reads” webpage, dutchessny.gov/dutchessreads, Dutchess County Government will introduce several other components of the initiative, including:
Legislature Chair Pulver said, “A whole world opens up for a person when they’re able to read, so expanding successful literacy programs throughout Dutchess County will benefit our community as a whole – children and families, students and teachers, job seekers and employers. I appreciate so many in our community for coming together to ensure ‘Dutchess Reads’ reaches those in need and is successful.”
County Executive Molinaro, County Clerk Kendall, Legislature Chair Pulver and other local leaders will travel around the County and host “Dutchess Reads” events, reading to classrooms and groups, encouraging them to read. Additionally, residents are encouraged to take photos of themselves reading and post those “shelfies” on social media, using the hashtags #dutchessreads and #whatareyoureading to stimulate conversation about literacy and encourage others to read.
County Clerk Kendall said, “We can all play a part in increasing literacy in Dutchess County, and engaging our friends and neighbors about reading is a great first step. Anyone of any age can benefit from ‘Dutchess Reads,’ and we encourage residents to be part of the effort – whether that’s volunteering as a Book Buddy or an English as a Second Language tutor, or simply engaging friends and loved ones in conversation about reading.”
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