Reading in the City is an innovative after-school program for Grades 3-5 aimed at getting children excited about reading and writing. Each week from September to March, the children take part in activities ranging from role play to storytelling, from reading to making music, creative movement to art. Sessions run for an hour and a half (3:30-5 p.m.) in the basement Gallery space of TYPE books, and a snack is provided.

Led by Word-Play volunteers and Teacher Candidates (TCs) from York University, the program changes every year but always maintains a focus on building a love of language and collaborating with one another. Children might write a detective story or learn from a librarian about writing poetry. They might create a superhero or learn yoga breathing. In one session, the children wrote their own theme song and a guest musician put it to music!

Word-Play also maintains a small collection of books donated by Canadian publishers, which participants in Reading in the City may borrow and bring home.

Reading in the City welcomes 15 children each year to our safe and secure environment. They are identified by their teachers from our three feeder schools (Charles G. Fraser, Niagara Street and St. Mary Catholic School), and receive lots of one-on-one attention from our volunteers and TCs.

Some graduates of the Reading in the City program, as well as other children chosen by their teachers for their leadership qualities, are invited back as mentors to work with the younger children. These young leaders-in-the-making build important relationships with the participants, helping create a safe, secure and fun environment.

What the kids say….

“Word-Play is fun. Word-Play books are amazing. I like the work. The music theme was great. The art is beautiful. I made new friends here. I like the teachers!”—Nkem

“At Word-Play I like eating snack and reading.”—Henry

“I like Word-Play because it is awesome, and the other thing I like about it is when we play different games and themes.”—Pauline

“Word-Play is the best because we play games and read interesting books. The people are really nice.”—Leandra

What the parents say….

“The program made Lauren want to read more. Word-Play has definitely contributed to her great marks this year! Thank you so much for offering this program.  It’s fantastic!”

“I like the program because it gives my son an opportunity to read either one-on-one or in a group but not focusing on reading levels, just enjoying reading. It will help him with self-confidence.”

“Word-Play has planted in my son the seed of reading that will grow and be with him all his life. He will always love reading.”