New Haven Reads to celebrate late founder, Christine Alexander

New Haven Reads founder Christine Alexander
Christine Alexander (Courtesy New Haven Reads)

New Haven Reads will honor its late founder and director, Christine Alexander, at a Corner Naming Celebration 2-3:30 p.m. on Sunday, April 22 in Scantlebury Park, Ashmun St., New Haven.

At the ceremony, the intersection of Bristol and Ashmun streets will be named in Alexander’s honor. The community is invited to the free celebration, which will include cake, ice cream, and fun activities. For more information and to RSVP, send an email to events@newhavenreads.org. The rain date is Sunday, April 29.

Alexander founded New Haven Reads in 2001 as a community book bank that expanded to include tutoring. The overall goal of the program is to provide an environment where children and adults have access to free books and tutoring to increase their literacy skills and academic performance. Emphasis is placed on serving the most economically and educationally disadvantaged children and families who otherwise would not have access to these resources. Today, New Haven Reads’ growing programs include a Pre-K and Kindergarten program for youngest students and an SAT prep class to support older students’ dreams of college. The community book bank remains a key element of New Haven Reads and annually distributes over 100,000 children’s and adult books. In addition, last year over 550 students received one-on-one tutoring each week at three locations. 

Alexander, who died in 2011, received many honors for her work with New Haven Reads.  She was one of two recipients of the national United Way of America Volunteer of the Year Award in 2008. She also received a youth advocate award from Youth Continuum, and a Seton Elm-Ivy Award from Yale University for strengthening town-gown ties. She and her husband, Yale Vice President Bruce Alexander, together received the Greater New Haven United Way’s highest honor, the DeToqueville Award, for their contributions to the community.