In 2004, the founder of Neighborhood Lit, Janice Migliazza, was taking graduate classes at Monmouth University to become a reading specialist. In order for her to complete projects for two of her classes, she needed to work with a group of students on decoding and comprehension using fun, hands-on methods to motivate the students to learn. However, since she wasn't working as a teacher at the time, she had to create a "mock classroom" in her home using the daughters of four friends who attended half-day Kindergarten as “students”. These students met with Miss Janice three times a week for a total of 12 weeks.
Once the projects were completed, the kids and parents were so pleased with their learning progress that they asked for more of these “fun” lessons. She continued to teach these four students and added some other new students as well. As the word got out and the number of students wanting to participate grew, she moved the classroom out of her home and into a one-room rented studio space. Since that time, Neighborhood Lit has moved the learning space several times to accommodate the increase in the number of families that attend sessions year-round.
Now, what started as a classroom in her home has grown into a business that serves over 150 families a year in the local community and has improved the literacy of more than a thousand kids.
In 2017, Janice wanted to bring her “fun” programs to more families outside of her community so she launched The At-Home Academy in 2018 as an at-home version of the programs offered at Neighborhood Lit. She created a Pre-K Letter Learning Kit that includes a reading and writing program that helps adults and children work together while learning their letters. The kit includes 24 step-by-step lessons and all the materials needed to participate in the games and hands-on activities. The kit is fun and motivational and really helps the kids learn to read and write the letters!