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Behind the Book's mission is to motivate young people to become engaged readers by connecting them to contemporary writers and illustrators. We bring authors and their books into individual classrooms to build literacy skills, and create a community of life-long readers and writers. Our programs take place in NYC’s underserved public schools, are part of the class curricula and meet the Common Core Standards. We believe that every student deserves the freedom that comes from the ability to read and think independently.

In the midst of shrinking education budgets, Behind the Book (BtB) offers NYC students a refreshingly creative and empowering experience. Working with classes from Kindergarten through 12th grade, Behind the Book collaborates with each teacher to select a book and develop a curriculum unit that meets the specific needs of their class. We then bring in the author of the chosen book to teach a series of workshops that engage and inspire students and culminate in the publication of a writing project, such as an illustrated book, a school newspaper, or a short story anthology. Our innovative programs address the urgent need to engage children and youth with reading and writing as a first step towards life-long literacy.

BtB has a unique formula of program and curriculum development which is key to its success, and which differentiates it from the approach taken by other organizations. In a recent program-wide evaluation, more than 80% of participating teachers credited BtB with increasing their students’ engagement in reading and reported improved literacy skills as a result of our programs. Since its founding, Behind the Book has conducted more than 175 programs that have served more than 5,400 students and 200 teachers and donated more than 12,000 books to students and school libraries.

While each program has its own specific objectives related to the needs of the classroom and the content and genre of the book utilized, all of our programs have the following goals:

• To engage students with reading and writing as a way to increase literacy skills;
• To support a culture of reading in the classroom that will sustain the engagement;
• To empower students through the creation and sharing of their original work;
• To provide teachers with a rich experience that will influence their teaching.