Just some of the 40 teddy bears we are giving out to children in the DiscoverBooks program. Funding for the DiscoverBooks program comes from the AEC Trust, the Irene E. & George A. Davis Foundation, and the F.I.S.H. Foundation, Inc.
December 10, 2014, is the 3rd annual
Valley Gives Day. Your online donation to Reader to Reader helps us do
important literacy work all year long. And by giving as part of the Valley Gives
Day campaign, you help us qualify for bonuses that amplify your donation. And
there’s no need to wait. You can give to Reader to Reader now and it will
credit to Valley Gives Day! Please help us meet our matching grant! Use this link to go to our online Valley Gives Day fundraising page.
On Nov. 22, 12 students came to St. Michael's Indian School in St. Michaels, Arizona, on a Saturday morning to take a full-length practice ACT under the watchful eye of Reader to Reader’s Navajo Outreach Coordinator, Meg Holladay. We started bright and early at 8AM, the same time the real ACT begins, and the students worked hard on the test until around noon. Eight students chose to write the optional essay section of the test. After time was up, we graded the practice tests together. Students were able to compare their scores to the national averages, and see which sections were going well for them and which they needed to improve. Many told us it was a valuable experience for them, and everyone went home to a well-deserved weekend of rest!
Congratulations to acclaimed author Julius Lester, this year’s recipient of Reader to Reader’s Norton Juster Award for Devotion to Literacy.
Julius Lester has been a powerful force in children's literature since his 1968 To Be a Slave won a Newberry Honor and acclaim from Smithsonian Magazine, the New York Times, and the American Library Association for its compelling stories, told through the letters and testimony of slaves themselves. Since then, his works have continued to garner accolades, and as an educator and author, he has been recognized by his peers with numerous awards in both fields.
The Norton Juster Award for Devotion to Literacy is given annually to a person who has played a prominent role in encouraging literacy and reading enjoyment. Their lifetime devotion to literacy is a shining example of the impact an individual can have on this vital issue.
Last week at St.
Michael High School in St. Michaels, Arizona, our Navajo Outreach Coordinator, Meg Holladay, organized a
panel discussion of five teachers talking about their experiences in
college. This was part of Blueprint for Success, a college-exploration
activity that Reader to Reader is running at SMHS.
Students are very
curious about college: what's it like to be there? Are professors mean? Is it
hard to live with a roommate? Through this panel, teachers were able
to tell their college stories. About 25 students, mostly juniors,
came during their lunch period to hear them.
The teachers who
volunteered to be on the panel had all had very different college
experiences. They had attended Penn State, Notre Dame, the University of New
Mexico, New Mexico State and the University of Colorado, and Georgian Court
University (a small women's college in New Jersey). They had majored in fields
as diverse as biology, English, education, and the history of ideas.
Here is Meg’s report
on the discussion.
I asked the teachers
How did you choose
your college? When you got there, was it the way you expected?
One teacher said she
hadn't expected to like a women's school, and her heart had been set on another
college, but when she visited Georgian Court, it felt like a family and
she fell in love.
What part of college
was the hardest for you, and what was the most fun?
As the hardest part of
college, several teachers mentioned social life: getting to know a new set
of people, making friends, a divide between Native and non-Native students
at UNM. Another teacher talked about trying to balance academics and social
life. One teacher said that the intellectual exploration he did in college was
the most fun part; another mentioned an English majors' club that organized
events like bonfire poetry readings, and another talked about being a mentor
for younger students.
What was your single
favorite class and why?
One teacher said that
her hardest biology class in college, a class in which she'd spend whole days
studying, was also her favorite. Several students were incredulous that her
favorite was such a hard class. Another teacher told the students about a
child-development class in which he was the only man, and many of the women in
the class were his grandmother's age--he said he got in touch with the part of
himself that says "awww" at pictures of babies.
What part of college
has most impacted your life today?
One teacher talked
about the writing skills he gained, and how they've been applicable in many
more places than he thought they would be. Others talked about social and
Then we opened up the
discussion to student questions. Students asked the teachers what they had
written their application essays about, how much writing they had had to do in
college, and what they had been afraid of that had turned out okay.
I think that everyone,
including myself, left with a better idea of the range of experiences a person
can have in college.