Pajama Program Reading Centers
Pajama Program Reading Centers offer a variety of programming for children, preschool through high school, that provide a foundation for a Good Night. Reading Centers are led by dedicated staff, specialists in education and child development, and each program is run with the help of caring volunteers from the community. Children and young adults attending programming at the Reading Centers connect with our staff and volunteers over a book and conversation. At the conclusion of the session, they choose their own book to keep from our library and receive the gift of a new pair of pajamas.
Our Reading Centers are centrally located in New York City and Atlanta:
Pajama Program provides transportation to and from the Reading Centers to eliminate financial barriers to participation for our Community Partners.
Reading Center Programs
Reading Parties are hosted by Pajama Program for children ages 4-18 from schools, shelters, and other Community Partners that work with children facing residential, income, or familial instability. During the hour-long Reading Party, children gather in circle time to introduce themselves, are paired with a volunteer who shares a story with them, enjoy a healthy snack, and then select a book to take with them. Book in hand, they rejoin the circle where each is invited to come forward to receive pajamas as they are surrounded by warm applause. Reading Parties are a one-time event, although some children visit more than once if their school or organization returns the following year.
Reading Parties provide a time for children and volunteers to share a story. Through that connection, we seek to provide children with a sense of safety, stability, and nurturing. We provide pajamas for the children to wear at bedtime as a comforting reminder that someone cares about them, and a book reinforces the feeling of connection and sparks the imagination. When we nurture and inspire children, we give them tools to help them at bedtime, which prepares them for a good night for a good day.
Reading Buddy Plus
Reading Buddy Plus is geared toward elementary school children (3rd to 5th graders). In this program, students visit every two weeks over the course of a school year. Each child is matched with the same volunteer each time who meets with them to share books and stories, creating an enduring bond. Internal surveys show children look forward to the visits and experience feelings of safety and security.
The continuity of Reading Buddy Plus offers a child the opportunity to not only improve their reading skills and open up their imagination, but more importantly it gives them the chance to deepen the bonds and their sense of trust with one person. As their friendships with the children evolve, volunteers can better help the children in this program to see their world in a more positive light. And, in talking about the stories they share, the children can learn to use their imagination to make a difference in their own lives.
TEAM (Teens Empowering and Mentoring)
Students from a local high schools come to the New York City and Atlanta Reading Center once a week to meet with elementary school students. Along with other adults, the teens serve as the volunteers for that day’s Reading Party. By pairing a teen with a younger student, the older children can further their own development of self-esteem and confidence through increased interaction with the community and relationships with younger students.