Monday, June 30, 2008

Thank You From Mosier Elementary

Dear Mr. Mazor,

On behalf of the students of Mosier Elementary School, we thank you for the Reader to Reader, Inc. donation of books to the Mosier School Library and classroom libraries. A bookplate has been attached to the inside cover of each book to acknowledge "Reader to Reader".

Due to the severe fiscal situation faced by schools over the last decade, funds for acquisition of books for the library are very limited. Your response through Reader to Reader has helped us to modernize and expand the collection of in the Mosier School Library and to keep vital the students interest.

The generosity of the donations from "Reader to Reader" and your understanding of the needs of our school reflect the spirit of cooperation which contribute to the success in excellence in education that we value and promote at Mosier School and in South Hadley.

We thank you for your interest in Mosier School and your ongoing support of education in our community.


Patricia J. Auth, Principal
Mosier Elementary School
S. Hadley, MA

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Navajo Pine Students Win at National History Day

Congratulations to Shelby, Dakota, Deidra, and Erla!

The outstanding Navajo Pine High School students celebrated their cash award at the state level competition during last month’s National History Day.

The students had advanced to the New Mexico state competition after winning their district competition. All four students are part of Reader To Reader’s Navajo Mentoring Program and their research project used books supplied by Reader To Reader.

About National History Day:

“Each year, more than half a million students, encouraged by thousands of teachers nationwide participate in the NHD contest. Students choose historical topics related to a theme and conduct extensive primary and secondary research through libraries, archives, museums, oral history interviews and historic sites. After analyzing and interpreting their sources and drawing conclusions about their topics’ significance in history, students present their work in original papers, exhibits, performances and documentaries. These products are entered into competitions in the spring at local, state and national levels where they are evaluated by professional historians and educators. The program culminates in a national competition each June held at the University of Maryland at College Park.”

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Citizen Summer Interns at Work

Our hardworking Citizen Summer interns, Meredith and Samia, loaded up the van for another delivery of brand new children’s books. Thankfully, they have strong backs because we have been delivering thousands of books to area schools.

Amherst College’s Citizen Summer Pioneer Valley program provides fully-funded summer internships for eight weeks so they can work for local non-profit organizations. It is a great way for them to learn about the needs of the local community while helping provided much needed assistance.

In addition to delivering books our interns are using their computer skills to design brochures, and research additional organizations that are in need of books.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Reaching Out to Family Outreach

Hundreds of brand new coloring books are going to be enjoyed by the children served by the Family Outreach Program of Amherst. The coloring books were provided by Reader To Reader from a generous donation from Modern Publishing.

Family Outreach of Amherst was established in 1989 in response to the closing of an Amherst homeless shelter for women and children. The goal of Family Outreach of Amherst is to support and assist the most vulnerable members of in the community, working with families who struggle with mental health, trauma, medical, substance abuse, and life skills issues.

What a great program!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Navajo Reservation Still Suffering From Internet Woes

Two months after a dispute over billing caused the satellite Internet provider OnSat to severe service to the Navajo reservation much of the reservation is still without service.

Below is the original newsletter item we ran followed by an update.

Navajo Reservation Loses Internet Access

"The rest of the world just feels this place is unimportant."

On Monday, April 7, 2008, an unbelievable thing happened. Internet service for the entire 27,000 square Navajo Reservation was simply shut off. This was through no fault of the Navajo people.

Below are full details of this event.

I want to add that it so clearly show the vulnerability of disadvantaged people to losing the very societal infrastructure that we take so for granted. It seems inconceivable that such an event could ever happen in say Boston. Surely, a court injunction would have prevented it. Unfortunately, it did happen on the Navajo reservation.

Now, some of the most isolated people in the United States are cut off from the information and communication that is integral to the modern world.

Navajo Nation Loses Internet Access

Navajo Nation residents were left without Internet capability Monday after a dispute over billing caused the Universal Service Administration Co. to cease paying their network provider and their service was simply cut off.

Thousands of residents rely on the Internet to communicate across the 27,000-square mile reservation as well as with the outside world. Work and school are essentially tied to the Internet, and this loss has caused great damage to the Navajo community.

"It's just very frustrating," notes Carla Clauschee, the librarian at Navajo Pine High School in Navajo New Mexico and a reservation resident. "Anyplace else they couldn't get away with it. The rest of the world just feels this place is unimportant. We are talking about a large area from Albuquerque to Flagstaff. We are talking four states including Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and Colorado. The rest of the world just feels this place is unimportant. It's just very frustrating to me. You want to encourage students to use the Internet to better themselves. There are no newspapers out here. No phone service. What are we supposed to do? Drive 60 miles to the post office? They are depriving the very people who have nothing of the very words that they type."

The Associated Press reported last Friday that the USAC told the tribe that they would be withholding $2.1 million from OnSat, after a tribal audit discovered that OnSat Network Communications Inc. may have double-billed the tribe $470,000 for a month of service. OnSat is refusing to continue service without this payment.

The over 110 chapter houses on the Navajo reservation have all lost their Internet service. The chapter houses are the focal point of each small community. Families gather at their local chapter house for local government meetings, graduation celebrations, and community receptions, and to access the Internet through wireless connections.

Chapter house parking lots that were previously crowded with cars and working people are vacant now that the wireless connection is gone.


I spoke with a reporter at the Navajo Times to get an update on the Internet situation. He explained that while many of the larger chapter houses in areas with more population have managed to switch to alternate Internet providers, the people in more isolated areas are still without service. Unfortunately, there are no other options for these people as there are no land lines serving those areas. Even small satellite dish Internet service, such as that provided by satellite TV providers DIRECTV or Dish Network, requires a land line for the Internet service.

Navajo Pine High School librarian, Carla Clauschee, explained the full impact of the loss of service.

“Unfortunately, those in the most isolated areas feel the loss the most as they rely on the Internet for distance learning programs, to communicate with hospitals, to get their news and information, to sell jewelry and other crafts on Web sites, and for email communication. They are just cut off from the modern world.”

We will keep track of this story and provide updates as we get them.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Remedial Instruction Can Make Strong Readers Out Of Poor Readers, Brain Imaging Study Reveals

ScienceDaily (2008-06-12) -- A new brain imaging study of poor readers found that 100 hours of remedial instruction not only improved the skills of struggling readers, but also changed the way the parietotemporal regions of their brains activated when they comprehended written sentences. This was the first brain imaging study in which children were tested on their understanding of sentences, not just on recognition of single words.

..."Any kind of education is a matter of training the brain. When poor readers are learning to read, a particular brain area is not performing as well as it might, and remedial instruction helps to shape that area up," Just said. "This finding shows that poor readers can be helped to develop buff brains. A similar approach should apply to other skills."

For the full article visit:

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Thank-you so much for the beautiful books!

Thank-you so much for the beautiful books! The students were absolutely elated when they got to choose a brand new hardcover summer reading book to take home!

Nancy Stenberg
Lynch Middle School
Holyoke, MA

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

You are our hero!

Hi David,

I hope this e-mail finds you well. I managed to process all the books you so kindly donated and was thrilled to add them to our very empty shelves. I made a list and circulated it to the staff so everyone could view the new additions to our collection. I just wanted to thank you again and assure you I will be e-mailing you again come September. Your work makes our school a wonderful place to READ!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

You are our hero!

Enjoy your summer,

Lisa Mutter-Gendreau
Henry J. Winters Elementary
Pawtucket, RI

Monday, June 16, 2008

New Books for Holyoke Community Charter School

On behalf the students of Holyoke Community Charter School we offer our heartfelt thanks for your consider
-able donation to our students. The gift of books which will be used by our students will give them many hours of enjoyment. Our focus here at HCCS is to leave our students with the joy of learning and the reading of books is one of the paths our students take to reach this destination.

Again, thank you.

Best regards,

Joe Dougherty
Holyoke Community Charter School
Holyoke, MA

(Photo: Citizen Summer interns Samia Hesnia and Meredith Wilson deliver the first of two book deliveries to Joe Dougherty of Holyoke Community Charter School)

Friday, June 13, 2008

Reader To Reader Receives Dakin Award

(Excerpted from the Amherst Bulletin)

Where Movers, Shakers Live Up To Reputation

Bulletin Contributing Writer
Published on June 13, 2008

This year's Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce awards presentation was a night for celebrations, socializing and - in keeping with the "Movers and Shakers" theme - belly dancing by some of the town's most prominent citizens.

The celebrations, held June 5 at the Robert Crown Center gymnasium at Hampshire College, started off with a cocktail hour and quickly took on the air of a high school reunion as guests poured in and friends and business colleagues discussed everything from recent political news to the NBA finals, and this year's award recipients. An estimated 400 people packed the hall.

Each recipient had a small display on the side of the room, featuring collages of pictures, various awards and letters from state and national officials, and even a looping video display.

Patty Brandts, executive director of the Chamber, and Cinda Jones, its president, engaged in a comic back-and-forth introducing the award recipients and showcasing the growth of the Chamber, noting that since 1995 the organization has added 300 members, and the awards dinner has quadrupled in attendance.

The two then called each recipient on stage to speak, accompanied by their own theme song.

David Mazor came to the stage to the tune of "You Oughta Be in Pictures," referencing his previous work in the film industry. Mazor received the Dakin Award in Human Services for founding the "Reader To Reader" program, which helps build libraries and get books to poor communities, and has its headquarters at Amherst College.

Mazor was quick to thank his wife and volunteers for their contributions.

"When you do a thing like this it begins as your own dream, and doesn't turn into an organization unless a lot of other people pick up the same dream," said Mazor, who accepted the award "on behalf of all the people involved with Reader To Reader."

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Tougaloo College Gets $6,000 in Math Textbooks

Reader To Reader is pleased to announce that Tougaloo College in Tougaloo, Mississippi will be receiving $6,000 worth of the textbook Basic Mathematics. The brand-new textbooks are being made available for donation by the author, Steve Slavin.

Founded in 1869, Tougaloo College is a private, historically African-American, liberal arts institution, accessible to all persons regardless of race, ethnic origin, religion or creed.

Reader To Reader has donated hundreds of books over the past six years to help their library and we are delighted to be able to help their math department as well.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Navajo Times Features Reader To Reader

Reading Opens Pathways
Chee Brossy
Navajo Times
Thursday, May 29, 2008

NAVAJO, N.M. – At a time when high school graduations become community events and underclassmen look forward to the summer vacation, actual in-class education can be a struggle.

Yet in one class at Navajo Pine High School, students are looking to take their education home for the summer – in the form of books to read without a teacher looking over their shoulder.

These books are sent to the students by Reader To Reader, Inc., a nonprofit organization based in Massachusetts dedicated to providing reading materials to under-resourced schools and communities across the country.

The company currently supplies books to 400 schools across the country and has sent over 7,000 books to Navajo Pine over six years.

For the students in Navajo Pine's honor class, reading is a pathway to college and directly related to success in a career in any field.

Reader To Reader's Navajo Mentoring program is groundbreaking. And, according to Navajo Pine librarian Carla Clauschee, the program has produced groundbreaking results.

Reader To Reader has been sending boxes of books to Navajo Pine High to be used by its students since 2002, but this is the first school year that a mentorship program, exclusive to Navajo Pine, has been implemented.

Students choose books to read, such as "Flight" by Native American author Sherman Alexie, and discuss the book with an Amherst College student on an online forum.

Amherst, in Massachusetts, has long been recognized as a top school and is ranked as one of the top two liberal arts colleges in America in 2008 by U.S. News & World Report.

Amherst mentors come from varied backgrounds such as rural Alabama and Beijing, China, and read the same books as the Navajo Pine students. Students post comments on what they read, and pose questions to the reading mentors.

"The kids have delved into new vocabulary, literary mechanisms, themes, symbolism, and metaphor," Clauschee said. "They're getting into heavy duty surrealist books, too.

"And the really wonderful thing about it is that they're not required to respond – they do it on their own," she said.

Sophomore Bettine Kinlichinie has noticed a difference in her reading.

"Now I actually know how to discuss a book with others," said Kinlichinie, who lists "Kite Runner" as her favorite book. "I can express my opinion on it more now. At first I just read to read, now I understand more about what's in a book, and how to ask questions about it."

The books that students read are a step up from simple youth fiction in order to challenge their abilities, said Clauschee. She also encourages her students to reread books they might already have encountered before the mentor program.

"It doesn't matter if you've read it before," Clauschee said. "I tell them, you'll be getting into it deeper. And their insights on what they read are tremendous. It's a big jump from 'Goosebumps'."

Clauschee has seen a difference in the students are a result of the mentoring program.

"You need more support and security to make the leap from reading for work to reading for fun," she said. "To really read a book takes extra, like a one-on-one connection and support."

At first it was the Amherst mentors who took the lead on writing posts on the forum and soliciting responses from the students.

"Then something happened – the kids took over," said Clauschee.

The students logged on during spring break and at night just to interact with other readers.

"I definitely never finished a long book until I started responding (to the reading mentors) online," said Navajo Pine sophomore Kyle Clark. "Now I'm constantly finishing and starting new books."

In August, Navajo Pine students will meet their reading mentors face to face when Reader To Reader founder David Mazor visits the school with the Amherst College students.

But sharing notes on the books the read is only one aspect of the visit, said Mazor.

"The goal is also for the Navajo students to be able to ask questions on how (the Amherst students) got into college, what it's like to be in college," Mazor said. "It's also an opportunity for the college students to learn what life is like in Navajo, New Mexico, and learn from that."

Then in October the Navajo Pine students will travel to Amherst, Mass., in an all-expenses-paid trip to Amherst College.

Mazor and his organization have arranged for the students to meet with various professionals, such as scientists and authors, including Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Madeleine Blaise.

"We're hoping to give them an amazing experience," Mazor said. "It will help them understand what college life is about by coming to a college campus, and also how to use college as a springboard for careers, like famous authors and lawyers."

It seems for the students at Navajo Pine High School, reading has indeed served as a pathway to new experiences and success.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Welcome Citizen Summer Interns

Amherst College juniors Samia Hesnia and Meredith Wilson will be spending their summers with Reader To Reader as a part of Amherst College’s Citizen Summer program. The newly launched program run by Amherst’s Center for Community Engagement funds over 200 summer interns to work for a wide variety of not-for profit and community organizations from "Springfield to Sioux Falls to Sierra Leone. "

We are pleased to welcome Samia and Meredith to Reader To Reader. They will be of immense help in all areas of our operation as we prepare for the upcoming school year.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Reader To Reader Receives $78,000 in Math Textbooks

We are working the phones calling community colleges in poor communities across the country this week. On Friday we have received a very generous donation of $78,000 in brand new math textbooks.

The textbook, Basic Mathematics, was donated by its author, Steve Slavin.

As described by the publisher, the textbook is a standard basic mathematics textbook used primarily in community colleges. It covers everything from basic arithmetic to percentages, ratios, proportions, signed numbers, and introductory geometry.

Schools across the country will receive hundreds of textbooks completely free of charge, including shipping.

We want to thank Mr. Slavin for his continued generosity as several years ago he had donated several hundred thousand dollars worth of textbooks which put free textbooks into the hands of thousands of students.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Reader To Reader Lauded by State Senate

The Massachusetts State Senate presented a citation to Reader To Reader founder and executive director, David Mazor, in honor of his receipt of the Janet Dakin Award for Human Services. The citation was presented at the annual Amherst Chamber of Commerce Awards Banquet and was presented by state representative Ellen Story.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Meet Volunteer Ann Greene

Ann Greene faithfully volunteers two to three days a week. She sorts books year in and and year out, so that each school gets the books they need. Thanks Anne, for all your hard work. We couldn't do it without you!)

"Four years have gone by! Sorting, stacking and packing all the donated books. I started volunteering after reading an article about Reader To Reader and was grabbed by the comcept... to get books into kids' hands! As it turns out, our books go to all age groups--pre-school to adult programs.

For me, it is fun getting acquainted with the series books--from Nancy Drew to MacHale's Pendragon, to the Warrior Series to Robert Jordon's Wheel of Time. It is very rewarding reading thank you letters from schools. Right now a gorgeous turquoise thank-you poster from Navajo Pine High School is displayed in our office!"


Tuesday, June 3, 2008

I've never seen so many books

“I've never seen so many books”
--Danielle A. Pinette, 10

I have great news! Just last week we donated 15,000 brand new children’s books to inner-city schools in Springfield, Massachusetts, so thousands of children could have books of their own.

For many of these children, these are the first books they have ever owned.

I wish you could have been there with us as the smiling children celebrated the arrival of the books.

Reading starts with having a book you love to read. It starts with well-stocked school libraries and classrooms.

Someone has to look out for the schools in low-income communities that have no resources. That is our mission. Week in and week out, Reader To Reader is working to get books into the hands of children all across the United States.

We know that books fill minds with wonder and open horizons.

We need your financial support to help us meet the needs of an ever-growing list of schools and community libraries.

Please support our spring fundraising campaign.

Your contribution is critical to our success.

You can donate right now online
Or donations can be mailed to:

Reader To Reader, Inc.
c/o Cadigan Center
38 Woodside Avenue
Amherst, MA 01002

I thank you in advance for your support.


David Mazor
Founder & Executive Director
Reader To Reader, Inc.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Doors to reading have been opened!

"Since 2002, Reader To Reader has been an integral part of the reading program at John Essex High School in Demopolis, AL. John Essex is a small school, housing grades K-12,and at times, its resources are very low. Reader To Reader has helped the students and teachers out a great deal. By placing quality books in the classrooms, doors to reading have been opened for students and they now read more than ever. By sending books for the library, volumes have grown and subject bases are much wider. Reader To Reader has helped provide the foundation for our students' reading futures. We value and appreciate their help so much!"

--Loretta McCoy, Principal
John Essex High School
Demopolis, Alabama