Universal Literacy

Reading Rescue is one of the strategies in place to ensure students are proficient in reading by the end of 2nd grade.

Reading Rescue is one of the strategies in place to ensure students are proficient in reading by the end of 2nd grade.


Every student deserves the strongest possible literacy foundation, in order to be college and career ready. Studies show that when young learners are reading at grade level by the end of the second grade, they have a far greater chance of graduating high school.

As part of the City’s Equity and Excellence for All agenda, Universal Literacy is a key initiative focused on dramatically increasing the number of students who will be able to read on grade level by the end of second grade—with a target of 100 percent literacy by 2026.

By providing elementary schools with a dedicated and highly trained reading coach, K-2 teachers receive on-the-ground and tailored professional learning and resources to improve literacy outcomes for students. The initiative is reaching all approximately 800 elementary schools, with approximately 500 reading coaches placed in schools across the 32 districts.

To sustain this progress, The Fund for Public Schools is proud to partner with private partners, notably the New York Community Trust. From 2016, for over two years, the New York Community Trust supported the Reading Rescue program developed and implemented in partnership with the Literacy Trust. Reading Rescue is a strategy to improve the reading skills of high-needs students through one-on-one tutoring. Through support that included the New York Community Trust’s commitment, Reading Rescue grew to reach students at 94 schools citywide and helped to illuminate strategies to create strong and effective literacy ecosystems.  

The Fund for Public Schools continues to facilitate private partnerships to support all students in developing foundational academic skills like literacy, which pave a path for college and career success. These collaborations support the City’s effort to strengthen each school’s instructional core, making sure that all students are known well by their teachers, and that schools use a shared and inclusive curriculum across the grades and subject areas. These priorities form the nexus of the City’s “Instructional Leadership Framework,” designed to help leaders across the system to create a supportive environment and set rigorous expectations for every student. The framework helps to ensure equity by making sure that all instruction is strong and that the same level of achievement is expected of every student.

As a partner to the DOE, The Fund facilitates promising, outcome-driven initiatives through private partnerships, which have the potential to make significant impact in the lives of millions of New Yorkers, including our youngest learners. If you are interested in joining our ever-growing list of supporters helping to ensure every student gets the excellent education they deserve, join us.