By Melissa Duchan
Read 718 is a nonprofit children’s literacy program operating on Atlantic between Bond and Nevins. Children who are reading below grade level come to Read 718 and receive tutoring to help them improve. The children are low-income students in grades 3-8 and the tutoring is provided for free or at low cost. Volunteers of many different ages and backgrounds come together to work with the children. The current location is ideal because it’s central, accessible and within close proximity to many schools.
Emily Kirven and Eva Sandler run the organization. Both of them have a professional background in education. Emily obtained a Master’s Degree from Teacher’s College and worked as a reading specialist for 8th graders in a public school. She got the idea to open Read 718 after she realized how many of her students were reading below grade level. The public school system did not have the resources to address this lack of reading proficiency. Eva joined after Emily had already founded the program. Eva obtained a Master’s Degree in Museum Education and Middle School English Language Arts from Bank Street College of Education. She was working with many low-income students as a private tutor and offering her services at a low cost because she realized how many low-income students were unable to access the individualized support they needed. She was looking for an organization who shared her concern about this inequality, and Read 718 fit the bill. Emily saw that Eva was very dedicated to combatting this educational inequality and that she had the right background for the job.
The center has been operating since January 2015 and has had a number of success stories since then. One student came in reading at an early first-grade level. After three cycles (10-week intensive reading programs), she jumped to a late second grade level. One parent testified of their child’s immense improvement:
“Since coming to READ 718 my child has improved with his reading and writing ability. He is no longer afraid to read out loud or write by himself. This helped him with the Common Core test this year. READ 718 is working for him because his reading and writing was below level when he first started.”
Read 718 is located at 420 Atlantic Avenue between Bond and Nevins. Their website is read718.org and they can be reached by phone at (718) 567-3228. They are always looking for volunteers, so anyone interested should stop by, send an email or make a phone call!