Local Laundromat Partners with Roosevelt to Encourage Lifelong Readers

Local Laundromat Partners with 

Roosevelt to Encourage Lifelong Readers

By: Norma Jackson, Vice Principal, Roosevelt School

Meet Anne-Marie McMahon. She's a first-grade bilingual teacher at Roosevelt Elementary in the New Brunswick Public School district and the organizer behind the latest community program, “Wash and Learn”. Mrs. MacMahon was inspired by The Chelsea Clinton Foundation and The Laundry Literacy Coalition to begin this program.  The program creates opportunities for students and their families to experience a playful learning space. It provides them with early literacy resources and time for parents to talk, read, and sing with their young children with educators there to facilitate the learning experience.

“By talking and reading with our children, we help them learn, share ideas, become critical thinkers, and create lifelong memories that strengthen our bond with each other.” Anne-Marie McMahon

The program meets twice a month at the Handy Street Laundromat. It focuses on promoting literacy, talk, and building relationships amongst members in the community, such as teachers, administrators, students, families, representatives of the New Brunswick Police Department, and the like. 

Roosevelt School principal, Gisela Ciancia, is enthusiastic about the community involvement in the program and says, "When Mrs. McMahon approached me about creating this opportunity to enhance our students' education by meeting their parents where they are, I immediately jumped on board.  This type of community program benefits ALL of its participants. Not only are the parents and students delighted with the program, but the teachers and community participants are energized as well.”

The Handy Street Laundromat representative, Hector Martinez, has provided an area for a laundromat library that consists of a book display and books donated by the NBPD several Roosevelt School teachers. The library provides children the chance to enhance their reading skills as they wait with their families inside the laundromat. They are also able to take books home. Handy Street Laundromat has also encouraged families to attend by providing laundry cards to use while they are doing their laundry. 

Mrs. McMahon's mission is to provide resources for the community and provide learning opportunities for children and their families, "Talking is teaching,” McMahon states, “ We are role models for children. By talking and reading with our children, we help them learn, share ideas, become critical thinkers, and create lifelong memories that strengthen our bond with each other.” 

Program volunteers hope to expose students to as much reading, writing, and speaking opportunities as possible so that they can blossom as lifelong readers and learners.