Early Literacy

HFH partners with Fairhill public elementary schools for early literacy. We are a proud partner of Philadelphia’s Read by 4th Campaign, working to help every child become a reader. Close partnership with school staff, families, and other community resources are showing positive outcomes in reading.

School Libraries

Since 2016, we have worked to reopen and staff the elementary school libraries at Julia de Burgos, John Hartranft, William Cramp, and Potter Thomas. Our library coordinators and volunteers lead read alouds, help kids find just right books, support curriculum, and create a welcoming space. 

Through grants, book drives, and regional partnerships, we are able to collect and share thousands of new and used books each year for Fairhill neighborhood schools. We are committed to providing high quality, culturally responsive, and engaging books. These books are used to create windows, mirrors, and sliding doors for our readers.

To volunteer as a library helper or to learn how you can support our libraries, contact us at info[at]historicfairhill.com

“I love all the books by Raina Telgemeier. She talks about how we have to be true to ourselves. She talks about how to be strong when people are mean. I love this author and I”m going to read all her books.”

Lamaia, 5th grader

“The kids want to read now, even the older ones who said they hated books. In the library, they have a choice. They can choose new, graphic novels about their own lives. When they can choose books they like, they want to read.”

Nicole Sabatino, Autistic Support Teacher

Reading Buddies

Over 30 volunteers visit our schools weekly to share the joy of reading. Reading Buddies are matched with children in grades K-4 and are able to provide valuable one on one support. Volunteers are pivotal to helping hardworking teachers as we all work together to get all students reading. Currently, only 25% of students are reading on grade level. 

Reading Buddies complete an application, interview, and get state clearances. While some are retired educators, many simply have a passion for children and literacy. All Reading Buddies are trained in reading strategies, trauma-informed practices, and culturally responsive practices.  They work regularly with the same students each week, giving one or two mornings of their time. Reading buddies convene monthly to share best practices and learn from one another.

Reading resources

Home libraries are essential to growing readers. When asked, many students report having between 0-10 books in their home. We believe all children need and deserve access to books. 

HFH provides thousands of new books to families each year through weekly book giveaway tables, literacy events, and little free libraries.  It’s important to us that our kids have books that are their own and in which they can see themselves. 

We have also raised funds for reading clinics to prevent the “summer slide” and workshops that train parents to be at-home reading coaches. 

To find out how you can champion home libraries with us, contact info[at]historicfairhill.com.

Classroom literary assistants

HFH hires bilingual school parents to be classroom assistants in K-2 classrooms. These parents are able to give consistent, skillful, caring support to the students and teachers and reduce the ratio from 30:1 to 15:1. They work with students in small groups on letter recognition, site words, comprehension, and more. 

Assistants are also able to have a strong impact on family engagement, which is essential in supporting literacy. They help teachers to better communicate and keep parents informed by providing translation during meetings and answering questions about assignments, so that they can help at home.

To become a literary assistant, email us today at info[at]historicfairhill.com

“My parent assistant is so helpful to me, I just can’t imagine doing this job without her.”

First Grade Teacher

“Last year, 7 of our 27 parents came to conferences. This year, 21 of 30 parents came to conferences. We talk to them. We encourage them."

Angie Voulasitis, Classroom Assistant
Reading Buddies

School gardens

HFH works with our partner schools to maintain school gardens that both beautify and educate. Studies show that when children participate in garden activities they are able to communicate their knowledge about the world to others, convey emotions, and develop important skills that will help them be more successful in school. 

We support school community members as they establish raised beds and learn how to care for their green space. Garden educators offer an outdoor classroom to teachers where students can dig, water, plant, and harvest. 

Field trips

Historic Fair Hill provides hundreds of children and adults with direct educational experiences every year. Join us in one of our beautiful outdoor classrooms. Each field trip can be curated to meet your group’s needs and interests whether it’s learning about the Underground Railroad, harvesting in our gardens, or discovering the powerful stories of our neighborhood murals. Trips are led by certified and trained guides. 

Elementary Garden Visits

Philadelphia History Tours

Nature Field Trips

Community Group Visits

Mural Tours

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