Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Reader to Reader assists Amherst Summer Achievement Academy


As part of our Literacy Explorers program, Talia and Sam, two of our summer interns, spent time working with students in the Amherst Summer Achievement Academy at Crocker Farm Elementary School -- a program that offers a fun place for kids to sharpen skills environment and a great antidote to summer learning loss!

We worked with age groups from kindergarten to 5th grade to provide one-on-one and group reading support. Here, Sam and Talia read and discuss Roald Dahl's Matilda with 5th graders.

A special thanks to the Amherst Woman's Club and Amherst Regional Public Schools for making our participation possible

Friday, August 5, 2016

Computers on their way to Bolivian village


Two refurbished Dell Optiplex computers have begun their journey to Arani, Bolivia.  The computers will be used to teaching coding to teenagers living in the village.

The donation is part of Reader to Reader’s partnership with the KUSIKUY, a social enterprise business that is working to retail the alpaca fiber clothing crafted by the village’s knitters.

As part of the partnership, Reader to Reader is donating computers, Spanish-language children’s books, and a  collection of business marketing books that have been requested in order to help support the educational needs of local entrepreneurs.

At an altitude of 9,400 feet, the village of Arani is located in the center of Bolivia, and has a population of  3,512.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Reader to Reader supports Nigeria Reads


Dear Reader to Reader,

It's being a while I updated you on our progress. Many thanks for your kind support and donation of books to Nigeria Reads. Currently, we have kicked off literacy clubs within our libraries to engage users with the books and study materials and foster learning amongst peer groups after school hours.

Also, I will be visiting Maiduguri. In particular, Biu and Bama where they have IDP camps, to kick off our mobile libraries. I will need your support with a book donation for the IDP camps, potentially there are over 20,000 persons at the camp. I have planned to support the IDP camps with about 1,000 children books as most of the children are out of school to compliment their learning at the camp.

Thank you for your continuous support to Nigeria Reads and improving the literacy of Nigerians.

Kingsley Sintim,
Nigeria Reads


Wednesday, July 6, 2016

College Students Chart New Path for Beyond el Campo Project



For the seventh straight year, Reader to Reader’s Beyond el Campo team is spending the summer in the village of Santa Cruz, Costa Rica, helping strengthen and support the village’s public library.

The team is made up of four Amherst College students, who spend their days working on the infrastructure of the library and running literacy programs for the village’s children and adults.




Among the first infrastructure tasks they tackled this summer was the building of a concrete path to the library, and painting the library’s exterior.

About Beyond el Campo

Founded in 2009, Beyond el Campo established and supports 3-room public library with over 3,000 books, a computer lab, and a space for teens. The library serves the immediate community of over 2,000 people. 

The college-student-led project provides educational programming, including book groups, summer reading camps and after-school study support.

Beyond el Campo, a project of Reader to Reader's Springboard Program, seeks to combat the issue of educational inequality in Costa Rica by providing essential tools and educational resources to inspire success. Its goals are to provide a public space that serves as a community center for learning and creative engagement; to equip that space with resources that connect students with their own passions and interests; and to offer educational programs and workshops open to the entire community.



Friday, June 17, 2016

Athena Program Reaches Teen Moms

 
Summer truly feels like it's begun at Reader to Reader when we have our annual Athena Interactive Literacy Program, which connects teen mothers from Holyoke's Care Center with community partners to foster empowerment in different areas of their lives. During the year moms work towards their GED at the Care Center, an alternative education program which seeks to "help them grasp how powerful they are, give them the tools to learn and provide them with an exciting and engaging learning environment." These sentiments echo Reader to Reader's own attitudes in our global literacy efforts, and now in its seventh year, Athena is a weeklong program that builds skills to help these young families thrive and learn.

Nutritional literacy is a major component of Athena. Local chef Bill Collins kicks off mornings with breakfast and wraps up afternoons with lunch. Each meal is accompanied with discussions centered around grocery shopping on a budget, balancing the demands of preparing a meal with young children around, simple and quick but nutritious meals, and various cooking tips, tricks, and stories. The moms even get to try their hand at food prep and cooking throughout the week!


Between meals, a range of activities give the moms a chance to express their voices. One of our college interns led a spoken word poetry workshop and later in the week, we took a trip to Northfire Recording Studio for a recording session. This year's selection of poetry include themes of family, love, and motherhood. 

The week's other project, board book making, was filled with laughter, casual discussions, crafting fun, and sweetest of all, sharing baby and toddler photos.

In addition to exploring their creativity, the moms explored financial literacy with Florence Bank and children's book and writing for different audiences with Phantom Tollbooth author Norton Juster. 

It was a week of learning for all involved: the moms themselves, Reader to Reader staff and interns, and the community partners who so generously shared their time and knowledge with us. Fittingly, we closed the week out with a celebration at the Care Center which allowed other Center students and staff a glimpse of what we were up to all week. 

We are so grateful to have been able to spend Athena week with participating moms and we will continue to cheer them on in their aspirations!

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Reader to Reader's Dennis Quinn Named 2016 Mass Literacy Champion



Dennis Quinn of the Amherst-based literacy organization Reader to Reader has been named a Mass Literacy Champion by Mass Literacy.

Mass Literacy, a non-profit organization supporting literacy education in Massachusetts, recently announced the six winners of the 2016 Mass Literacy Champions Awards. 

The program publicly recognizes and rewards Massachusetts' educators who have shown exceptional commitment and results through their work in literacy education.

Award winners will receive a $1000 grant for program development and a professionally produced video to promote the work of their organization valued at $1000.

Mass Literacy selected six Mass Literacy Champions, including Springfield resident Dennis Quinn. Dennis is the Director of Mentoring Programs and supervises the Read, Think, Share program for Reader to Reader, which is based in Amherst on the campus of Amherst College.

Read, Think, Share is a web-based initiative that partners students from low-income backgrounds with college student mentors, to improve reading and writing skills and foster a love of reading.

Dennis has grown the program from serving 22 students to over 1,300 in West Springfield, Holyoke, Chicopee and surrounding towns.

For his Mass Literacy Grant project, Quinn will bring the Read, Think, Share program to a brand new school, serving 30 more students. The grant covers all books, supplies and training for the program.

The Mass Literacy Champions Awards program enables literacy providers to share their most promising practices with their peers and serve as ambassadors for literacy. 

Each 2016 Mass Literacy Champion will complete an innovative literacy project that will be shared with the statewide literacy community.  Seventy-six Mass Literacy Champions have been recognized since 2003, and together they represent the diverse literacy community that makes Massachusetts a national leader in education.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Reader to Reader Donates 15,000 New Children's Books to Area Schools


Peter Goonan | pgoonan@repub.com 
Masslive.com

Reader to Reader, a private, nonprofit organization dedicated to expanding literacy and learning, recently launched its annual Spring Book Extravaganza for the planned donation of 15,000 books to schools in the Springfield area.

The organization, based in Amherst, gives away tens of thousands of books annually to schools and outreach program in the region including an annual book giveway to those schools.

The Spring extravaganza is in its sixth year, and began on April 28, with hundreds of boxes of books lining the hallways of Belcher Elementary School in Chicopee, the host site, awaiting pickup by area teachers, according to the organization

As of May 9, a total of 21 schools had come and picked out books for their students and there were still thousands of books available, said David Mazor, the founder of Reader to Reader.

The books are brand new and are available to schools in Springfield, Holyoke, Chicopee and West Springfield, according to Reader to Reader. The books span a wide range of ages and interests and include grade levels pre-K to 12, officials said.

"These books are part of our ongoing support for the Reading Success by 4th Grade Initiative," Mazor said. "Increased access to books is a key factor in raising literacy rates."

"Year after year, Reader to Reader has been an amazing resource for our district," said Samuel Karlin, principal at Belcher School. "We look forward to this great spring book event every year."

Schools interested in picking out books should contact David Mazor at .this website address.

Reader to Reader's Spring Book Extravaganza is sponsored by Chicopee Savings Bank.