SOURCE: New Jersey After 3

New Jersey After 3

March 02, 2010 17:20 ET

Despite Proposed Cuts, Afterschool Programs Continue to Drive Student Literacy Efforts

New Jersey After 3 Leverages National Read Across America Day Events to Improve Student Achievement & Literacy Rates

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ--(Marketwire - March 2, 2010) -  While grappling with a mid-year budget cut which would result in the closure of cost-effective programs for over 11,000 students and their families during the next few weeks, New Jersey After 3 programs are still hard at work supporting student achievement through activities that focus on improving literacy throughout the Garden State. New Jersey After 3, a statewide network of afterschool programs dedicated to expanding learning time for thousands of New Jersey's youth, is facing the elimination of $5.2 million in state funding this school year

New Jersey After 3 was selected by Youth Service America to serve as a lead agency for Semester of Service projects across The State of New Jersey, and was recently awarded a Federal stimulus grant to build upon its demonstrated success in improving students' language arts skills. As a part of its statewide "Speak out & Listen Up" initiative, students across the state are capitalizing on The National Education Association's (NEA) Read Across America Day (a nationwide literacy project that encourages readers, both young and old) to instill a sense of fun, relevance and enjoyment in reading.

Among the many afterschool programs participating in activities recognizing Read Across America Day, is New Jersey After 3's Jewish Family Service of Central New Jersey's Project Open Door afterschool programs at Schools #1, #4, #5 in Linden. Students from the afterschool program at School #4 will be joined by senior citizens from the neighboring senior living facility, Ann J. Ferguson Towers, who will read excerpts from Dr. Seuss books to students while engaging them in hands on activities related to the stories told in selected readings.

New Jersey After 3's Boys & Girls Club of Hudson County afterschool program at P.S. #34 in Jersey City will also host a Read Across America event. "The Peaceful Winners" (students) involved with New Jersey After 3's Semester of Service "Speak out & Listen Up" projects have invited several members of the community to participate in Read Across America's signature celebration -- Dr. Seuss book readings. Their goal is to help promote hope, peace and literacy. A local librarian will also be on site to assist with a book swap and signing-up participants for library cards.

As prevalent as the state budget cuts are to New Jersey is the achievement gap that plagues our nation's schools. Studies have pointed to deficiency in literacy skills as a key contributor to the reason why many students choose to drop out. Proven strategies in confronting the literacy epidemic include expanding learning time to allow for more individualized attention from adult educators, and engage students in a variety of engaging activities that encourage parental involvement. Many of these strategies are cornerstones of the evidence based New Jersey After 3 program model. 

Research also indicates that literacy programs implemented in afterschool programs can improve students' achievement in reading and language arts and foster their appreciation for reading as a lifelong behavior. In fact, a recent, 3-year longitudinal evaluation of New Jersey After 3, conducted by Policy Studies Associates (PSA), revealed that New Jersey After 3 participants achieved statistically significant gains in their language arts skills and demonstrated improvements in study skills, math skills, computer skills, homework completion, classroom grades, and positive attachment to school.

New Jersey After 3 has also partnered with Reading is Fundamental since 2007 on an original literacy program called, NJA3 Reads.  Since the partnership began three years ago, over 46,000 books were distributed to youth across New Jersey. These distributions were complimented by motivational reading activities that engaged student and over 1,000 families and community volunteers. 

For more information on New Jersey After 3's student achievement and literacy initiatives, please visit

Contact Information

    Shannon Boehmer
    New Jersey After 3
    Email Contact