In 1993, actress Mary Stuart (Guiding Light) began reading to New York City students and her friends soon followed. The tradition continued and grew in all five boroughs for over 20 years as part of the SAG Foundation BookPALS (Performing Artists for Literacy in Schools) program.
At present, hundreds of SAG-AFTRA and Actors Equity Association performers read to students in pre-K through 3rd grade on a weekly basis. New York BookPALS also read to children in hospitals and social service agencies as well as write to students as part of the PencilPALS program.
Recently, New York BookPALS was awarded a grant from the Manhattan Borough President’s Office. Training workshops and a video were the results, arming BookPALS around the country with new tools for use in inclusion classrooms with special needs and general education students along with tips for effortless classroom management.