NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNHC) — A day on the Hew Haven Green usually means fun and relaxation, but on Friday morning, it was all about literacy.

Approximately 600 students, ages 7 to 12 from low-income neighborhoods in New Haven, participated in the annual Read-In event, which is sponsored by Leadership, Education, and Athletics in Partnership (LEAP).

It’s one of many components of LEAP’s summer enrichment program.

“We have about 75 volunteers who read to about 600 children here on the New Haven Green,” Henry Fernandez, the executive director of LEAP. “So, they’ll have books that they bring or borrow from us.“

Last year, this event was held at five different LEAP sites because of health concerns brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. This year, it’s back on the New Haven Green.

“Over the last two years, because they weren’t in school, they’ve really had a slide; a slide in terms of their literacy skills,” Fernandez said.

While you may not find these page-turners on Oprah’s Book Club list, they are in great demand among this group along with other Jora.

”There’s some reading things that I couldn’t do before, but once I joined, I learned new things,” seventh-grader Tymell Sayles said.

Building a strong appreciation for reading and reducing the literacy gap among children is what this camp is about, and these volunteers are glad to help inspire a love of reading.

”Nothing beats sitting on the group and curling up with a good book and a group of kids,” volunteer Augusta Mueller said.