Are Your Lights on After School?

Today’s guest blog post comes from the nation’s leading voice for afterschool, the Afterschool Alliance is the only organization dedicated to raising awareness of the importance of afterschool programs and advocating for more afterschool investments. Today the Afterschool Alliance boasts more than 25,000 afterschool program partners and our publications reach more than 65,000 interested individuals every month.

As First Book supporters know all too well, students across the U.S. are falling behind in basic literacy skills, with those in low income communities at greatest risk.  The impact on these students’ future success is devastating.   One intervention that can help are quality afterschool programs.

Through book clubs, mentors, storytelling, home work help and more, afterschool programs can provide the personalized extra help and hands on projects that support the acquisition of reading and writing skills.   Programs can creatively weave literacy building activities into arts, cooking, sports, and almost any hobby or interest.

Despite the proven benefits of afterschool programs, 15 million kids—that’s 1 in 4 youth— we want to change that figure, and we’d like your help.  Please join us in celebrating the nation’s rally for afterschool programs this October 18.  During the 13th annual Lights On Afterschool, more than 1 million Americans will attend 7,500+ events nationwide.   Even the Empire State Building will light up to call attention to the need for more afterschool resources. are alone and unsupervised after the school bell rings, with no opportunities for engaging learning opportunities that extend beyond the walls of the classroom and help build literacy skills.

Community organizations and programs are invited to hold their own celebration or participate in a local event to help call attention to the many benefits of afterschool programs, including closing the achievement gap.A Lights On Afterschool celebration is a great way to highlight how afterschool programs promote literacy and encourage reading by inviting parents and community members to join students for an afternoon.

We’re especially proud that First Book is taking part in Lights On Afterschool and arming programs will receive 1,000s of free books to support their literacy activities.   Every 300 eligible groups that register for Lights On Afterschool, and with First Book, will be entered in a drawing to win 1,000 books. Thank you for your support, First Book!

To sign up to host a Lights On Afterschool event, locate an event in your area, or access event planning tools visit: