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Dutchess Reads

Dutchess Reads

Program Summary:

The County Executive, County Clerk and County Legislature have launched a partnership with local libraries and literacy advocates to promote reading by overcoming barriers to literacy. “Dutchess Reads” aims to bring literacy programs proven successful in various parts of the County to other, underserved communities and support programs offered countywide.

This initiative focuses on three main areas:

  • Early Reading
  • Literacy for those seeking jobs
  • English as a second language 

Did you know?

  • Approximately 36 million adults in America are considered to be illiterate; about 14% of the entire adult population cannot read or is limited to reading at the basic or below basic proficiency levels.
  • Approximately 11% of Dutchess County’s population lacks basic literacy skills.
  • Every year, more than 1 in 3 American children start kindergarten without the language skills they need to learn to read. 
  • Only 30% of children from households where the primary language is not English were read to daily compared with 51% where the primary home language is English. 
  • Approximately 15.7% of Dutchess County residents speak a language other than English at home. 

Public Awareness:

Let's get the word out about the importance of reading! Join us in promoting Dutchess Reads:

Born to Read:

Through our Behavioral & Community Health Department, "Born to Read" will provide new mothers with bilingual board books to read with their newborns, encouraging early literacy.

Lending Libraries:

In partnership with local libraries, we will establish book swaps on County buses, in the Department of Motor Vehicles and in other Dutchess County Government spaces. 

Book Buddies Eastern Dutchess Expansion:

Map of Dutchess CountyLiteracy Connections currently operates their Book Buddies program in 11 Dutchess County Schools, with 93% of students served showing increased confidence and reading fluency as reported by school teachers, standardized test and volunteers. Through the County’s Agency Partner Grant Program we are funding the expansion of the successful Book Buddies program to three eastern Dutchess school districts. 

Dutchess County SPCA Children's Reading Program:

Dutchess County SPCA logoThe Dutchess County SPCA invites children to read to animals in the shelter to socialize the pets while allowing children to build confidence and improve reading skills. Drop-ins are welcome every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 3 to 5PM at 636 Violet Ave, Hyde Park. 

Children should bring their own books and will read to cats that are contained in their condos. Parents or teachers with questions can contact Patrick DeLeon at 845-452-7722 ext. 417 or

Community Provider Survey:

The Dutchess Reads workgroup is preparing a survey for local community provider to assess current programming related to literacy to build a centralized inventory and identify gaps in service. 

English as a Second Language:

English as a Second Language (ESL) classes are available throughout the County, with options for every skill level:

 Adult Basic Education & High School Equivalency:

Adult Learning classes, tutoring services, and High School Equivalency (HSE) courses are available throughout the County: 

Visit your Local Library!

Get involved with your local library, become a member, check out online resources, and start reading!  

Learn more about Summer Reading opportunities! 

Learn more about the Mid-Hudson Library System