Thursday, December 8, 2016

More books are Heading to Bolivia!

More Spanish-language books are on their way to Arani, Bolivia.

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.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Editorial: Reader to Reader Exports Hope with Books

Thursday, November 10, 2016
Daily Hampshire Gazette

Page by page, an Amherst nonprofit continues to fight educational inequality by shipping free books to disadvantaged communities.

But there is more to Reader to Reader than tons of paper. This novel program, founded by David Mazor more than a decade ago, exports hope.

Yes, hope, that thing with feathers, as Emily Dickinson once ventured. “That perches in the soul - / And sings the tune without the words - / And never stops - at all -”

While best known for its book donations, Reader to Reader works to advance literacy – and the economic hope literacy ignites – in impoverished communities beyond this country’s borders.

Mazor’s program also serves as a lifeline to intrepid students from the Five Colleges inspired to design and launch their own global literacy projects.

Books remain the coin of the realm. Starting late last month, Reader to Reader made its latest book donation to schools in Native American communities in the Southwest — one of its oldest efforts.

Schools in New Mexico and Arizona are receiving more than 52,000 books worth half a million dollars. The program’s simple goal is to get books into the hands of children in underfunded schools, believing that reading lights fires of curiosity that, once kindled, cannot be extinguished.

As Reader to Reader has grown, new corporate relationships enable it to get many more books into schools like the Gallup-McKinley County Public Schools in Gallup, New Mexico, and the Central Consolidated Schools in Shiprock, New Mexico. Both are receiving books in the latest shipment, along with the Ganado Unified School District in Ganado, Arizona, the Hopi School District in Keams Canyon, Arizona, and the Tuba City Unified School District in Tuba City, Arizona.

The program crossed the 50,000-volume mark on this donation thanks in part to its ties to the Scholastic Corp., Pioneer Valley Press, Soho Press and other publishers.

A library staffer in the Gallup-McKinley schools, which are getting 14,000 books, says the program’s impact on students will be “profound.”

Separately, more than 21,000 volumes are headed to the Navajo Nation Library in Window Rock, Arizona. Reader to Reader is also shipping books to a Native American community that’s been in the news – the Standing Rock Reservation, whose members are fighting a pipeline project and reached out to the Amherst program for help to improve the library at a South Dakota campus of Sitting Bull College.

Not surprisingly, there’s been mission creep in the Reader to Reader ranks for years. Students from local colleges continue to serve as tutors and reading mentors. Many do that here in the Valley, as several did with the Summer of Power program for five weeks this year in Holyoke by helping students improve their English language skills. The program says 200 Five Colleges students, working in Massachusetts and New Mexico, are mentoring 1,400 low-income young readers.

Further afield, Reader to Reader continues to assist efforts, sometimes through its Springboard Program, to advance literacy in places like Managua, Nicaragua, Arani, Bolivia, and Santa Cruz, Costa Rica. The Springboard Program helps college students do global good.

They include the four students from Amherst College who’ve been improving a three-room public library in the village of Santa Cruz.

Reader to Reader does seem like “the thing that never stops,” as Dickinson wrote.

In that same poem, she said of hope: “I’ve heard it in the chillest land - / And on the strangest Sea - / Yet - never - in Extremity, / It asked a crumb - of me.”

For information on how to support Reader to Reader’s efforts, and perhaps provide some financial crumbs, visit

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

$500,000 in New Books to Native American Schools

(Photo: Lincoln Elementary students in Gallup, New Mexico get new books on Halloween)

Staff Writer/Daily Hampshire Gazette
Tuesday, November 01, 2016

AMHERST — Children of Navajo Nation and Hope Nation who attend schools in New Mexico and Arizona are receiving $500,000 worth of new books following a donation from an Amherst-based literacy organization.

A total of 52,126 books are being shipped directly to the various school districts in the Southwest for distribution, said David Mazor, founder and executive director of Reader of Reader.

“We are pleased to make this large donation in order to get as many books into the hands of children,” Mazor said.

The books, which are of general interest for students in kindergarten through 12th grade, are provided through Reader to Reader’s partnerships with Scholastic Corporation, which runs the Scholastic Possible Fund, and Pioneer Valley Press, Soho Press and other publishers.

Among the school systems receiving the books are the Gallup-McKinley County Public Schools in Gallup, New Mexico, the Central Consolidated Schools in Shiprock, New Mexico, the Ganado Unified School District in Ganado, Arizona, the Hopi School District in Keams Canyon, Arizona and the Tuba City Unified School District in Tuba City, Arizona.

Providing books for Native American schools represents a long-term commitment that has been taking place since 2005, Mazor said. In the past decade, Reader to Reader has donated more than $3 million in books.

The Gallup-McKinley schools will get 14,000 books, which are already being given out to students, including at Lincoln Elementary in Gallup.

“These books will have a profound impact on the children in our district,” Mary Lindenmeyer, library media coordinator for the schools, said in a statement.

In addition, the Navajo Nation Library in Window Rock, Arizona will receive over 21,000 books.

Reader to Reader also donates books to the Red Lake Nation in Minnesota and the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation in North Dakota, and this week began working with the Standing Rock Reservation after its members asked for help in stocking books in the library of the McLaughlin, South Dakota campus of Sitting Bull College.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Over 200 Mentors in Reader to Reader's Read, Think, Share Program

There are already more than 200 students from seven different colleges work as reading mentors in our Read, Think, Share program this year, helping students in middle school and high school become more confident readers and writers.

Here, eight of our newest mentors from Amherst College take part in a follow-up training to help them build their own skills at working with students.

The college students are working with 1,400 low-income adolescents in Massachusetts and New Mexico.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Donating Laptops to Alabama Students

The freshmen on the SpeakFirst team in Birmingham, Alabama, show off their laptops donated by Reader to Reader.

The group is guided by SpeakFirst’s Mary Byrne, formerly an intern and reading mentor at Reader to Reader during her years at Amherst College. She’s now doing great work in Alabama.

Reader to Reader's Computer Donation Program donates new and refurbished computers and e-readers to schools and outreach organizations all across the world.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Reader to Reader Key Part of Holyoke's Summer of Power

This summer, Reader to Reader was pleased to once again be part of Summer of Power (SoP) at Holyoke High School. SoP is a summer enrichment program that allows incoming ELL (English Language Learners) 9th graders to work on their English oral and written skills.

Ten Reader to Reader tutors hailing from UMass, Amherst College, Hampshire College, and Smith College assisted in the classrooms as students practiced their English, often through expressing their identities and values.

Over the five weeks of the program, it was wonderful establishing a rapport with the students and watching the friendships grow among them!

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Young Readers Enjoy Books in Nicaragua

Young readers enjoy books donated by Reader to Reader to the Podcast for Peace project in Managua, Nicaragua.

One of the projects initially launched through Reader to Reader’s Springboard Program, Podcasts for Peace is a youth-focused community center that enriches the lives of over 400 young people.

About the Springboard Program

Reader to Reader's Springboard Program brings Five College students into the world of non-profit work through the development and implementation of their own international or domestic literacy project. This program guides students through the entire process, teaching them the skills necessary to lead their own literacy project and giving them unparalleled leadership opportunity.