This Valentine’s Day, the Mission Society of New York City celebrated our love of reading with the students and parents of P.S. 33. Program staff transformed the school cafeteria into a fun-filled room of Valentine’s themed activities. Alongside the “Heart Buddies” arts-and-crafts table and “Pin the Heart on the Cupid”, staff developed games with a twist: reading and writing challenges that tested the students’ vocabulary.
In the “Love Letters” relay race, each set of partners had to run to a table and unscramble words like cupid, Valentine, February, heart, and pink. A hopscotch game involved spelling key vocabulary, and “Musical Hearts” required students to read and comprehend instructions that told them to perform specific tasks like “dance like a robot”. Each activity and its corresponding difficulty level were thoughtfully tailored to the age of participants. At the very end of the event, students got to pick out their own book to take home for free. Events like this one make learning enjoyable and memorable. Reading and writing fluency is not only vital for success across academic subjects – it is a cornerstone for development beyond the classroom. Literacy skills are a fundamental component of a young person’s education, and allow them to communicate with their peers and parents and engage more deeply and critically with the world. Despite how crucial these skills are to a young person’s development, there are still many students who fall behind due to lack of opportunity and insufficient resources. At Mission, we want to ensure that there is equity in education, and our Valentine’s Day event is one example of this goal in action. Our hope is that these activities lead every young person who participates towards greater academic achievement, professional success, and a lifetime love of reading.