NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Hundreds of New Haven kids got a boost on their summer reading on Friday with the help of some friends and volunteers.

Leadership, Education and Athletics in Partnership (LEAP) held its annual Read-In event, although the rain caused it to be moved from the New Haven Green to school buildings around the city.

Volunteers read to kids in the LEAP program, which is designed to empower children of color to make change in their community.

“To address the big literacy gap that we’ve seen as a result of COVID, only about 16% of New Haven public school third-graders are reading at grade level,” said LEAP Executive Director Henry Fernandez.

Most kids in the LEAP program will read about 14 books this summer.

“It’s important to keep our children engaged and reading throughout the summertime,” said Keisha Redd-Hannans, assistant superintendent of New Haven Public Schools. “LEAP is a wonderful partner for New Haven Public Schools, but it’s also great to see our kids’ excitement.”

LEAP also offers activities such as overnight camping and swimming, serving 1,000 kids in New Haven.