The Adolescent Literacy Program is a partnership with six community-based organizations to operate afterschool adolescent literacy programs in 9 New York City public middle schools. These innovative programs use a range of educational approaches to help struggling 6th, 7th and 8th graders develop their reading, writing, and oral communication skills in an afterschool setting. Program staff work closely with school leadership to identify children whose reading test scores and teacher observations demonstrate a need for academic intervention.
DYCD's adolescent literacy programs use diverse strategies ranging from more traditional direct instructional techniques to embedding literacy instruction within contexts such as technology and drama to engage youth. Middle school students who lack a strong literacy foundation are much more likely to become high school drop-outs, as noted in the Carnegie Foundation report “Reading Next.”(2006) DYCD's Adolescent Literacy Program is addressing the needs of this demographic – dubbed the “missing middle” – by targeting young adolescents and working with them for up to three years to ensure they are prepared for a successful high school experience.