Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Helping Mothers in Prison

Did you know that 85% of women that are incarcerated are mothers?

Reader To Reader is pleased to be helping the Prison Birth Project by supplying books on childbirth and childrearing.

The Prison Birth Project provides education, support and resources about pregnancy birth and mothering to incarcerated women. Their goal is to provide tools to help make empowering birth choices and provide continuous care through the pregnancy, birth and postpartum process. Groups meet bi-weekly at the Western Mass Women’s Correctional Center in Chicopee Mass to discuss issues of pregnancy birth and parenting.

Friday, April 24, 2009

"Someone must really care about us having cool books"

Dear Reader To Reader,

Kirby, our maintenance man, set the box onto the table in the office. "Whatever this is, it better be good." he said. He had just carried the huge package on foot the three blocks from the post office. I saw the return address was Reader To Reader and promised him that it would indeed be worth it.

"Worth it" and "good" don't begin to describe your donation. The full sets of Harry Potter, A Series of Unfortunate Events, and The Chronicles of Narnia are outstanding additions to our library and our students' lives. Students (and I!) have been wishing for these books since the first week of school in August. I had begun building the series, book by book, but that speed was not fast enough to please the voracious readers who were already done with book number two and pining after book number three. By completing all of these series, your donation did in one day what it would have taken months, if not years to do otherwise.

The students love the books. The first graders can't get enough of the easy animal books, fourth graders are loving the Series of Unfortunate Events, and second graders are desperately trying to read Harry Potter. One student had the fortune of watching me unpack the box and shelve the books. "Whoa!" She said, with a big grin. "Awesome. Somebody must really care about us having cool books."

Thank you for being that somebody who cares about my students and their learning.


Shannon Brady
K-8 Literacy Coach
Little Wound School
Kyle, South Dakota

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Author Norton Juster Joins Mentoring Program

Children reading The Phantom Tollbooth in the Doris Hiatt Mentoring Program got a special treat recently when author Norton Juster signed on to answer their questions.

Juster answered questions from a 5th grade girl about what was real and what was imaginary about the trip Milo takes in the book.

“It's sometimes hard to tell whether a trip is real or imaginary--Some of the best trips I've ever taken have been imaginary,” Juster explained. “The trip Milo goes on is about real things, real ideas and real thoughts, but it is imaginary since it is a story. Often times the best way to think about and understand real things is through stories--Milo is really traveling in his mind and in his imagination in this story. You can see how far you can go without ever leaving your room.”

We are so pleased to welcome Norton Juster as the first of our guest authors, He has been a long-time supporter of Reader To Reader. More guest authors will be participating in the coming months.

The Doris Hiatt Mentoring Program brings together children from low-income backgrounds and college student reading mentors to read books and discuss them online in a specially designed forum. The students not only receive positive feedback and academic support, but also much-needed role models.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Three Cheers for Our Montessori School

Three cheers for the students at Our Montessori School in Yorktown,
New York, for their wonderful book donation.

Dear Reader to Reader,

At Our Montessori School we got families together for a "Book Swap".
We brought books in we were finished with, or had outgrown and shared them with other families. Any books that were not swapped were collected and boxed up so we could give them to you. The families each donated a little bit of money to cover shipping costs.

The senior class, 4-6th grade, was in charge of sorting and boxing the
books. We really hope the kids that get to read the books enjoy them.
Some of the stories are our favorites!

Thank you for creating your great charity, we think reading is fun and
important! We like to do projects about the books we have read.

Happy Reading!

The Senior Class of Our Montessori School
Yorktown, NY

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

"It's great to know you can count on some people that can give us nice books."

The children at Wilbur Cross Elementary enjoyed their recent book delivery which is a part of Reader To Reader’s Bridgeport Literacy Initiative. The program brings books to four Bridgeport, Connecticut elementary schools and is funded in part by grants from the Xerox Corporation and the Pitney Bowes Employee Involvement Fund.

Here are some of the students’ comments about their books:

“I like that you gave us the books now we all could read and read for 20 minutes every day and night now my brother, my cousin and I could read because we like to read a lot now we can with new books so thanks."

"Thanks! Thanks for all the books you donated and all the books were great. Now I have a book to read to my little brother and sister. Thanks for the books.”

“Thank you for the books you gave us Wilbur L. Cross students. I'm thankful because I love to read especially the Twilight saga. So again, thank you for giving us the books."

“I'm so glad there are organizations like yours that can give books to schools, and help give kids a sense of imagination.”

"It's great to know you can count on some people that can give us nice books."

Friday, April 10, 2009

An Abundance of Good Will: Competing to Serve

By Joan Levitt
Published in The Voice of the Southwest

Students from two top colleges on the East Coast have been
engaged in a friendly rivalry for years. Now some students from
Amherst and others from Williams College find themselves shoulder to
shoulder in an unexpected endeavor: volunteering on the Navajo
Reservation. The lucky recipients of this generosity are St. Michael
Indian School students.

The flurry of volunteers and thriving literacy at St. Michael
are the product of the hard work of many people, but three individuals
stand out: Reader to Reader Founder and Executive Director David
Mazor; Director of the Doris Hiatt Mentoring Program Sara Ackerman
Aoyama; and St. Michael alumnus and current Dartmouth junior Bethany
Hale. This week at St. Michael, the gifts of Mazor, Aoyama, and Hale

For several months, St. Michael High School students have
been receiving much needed new books from the non-profit charity
Reader to Reader, based out of Amherst College. Since 2000, Reader to
Reader has shipped over 2,000,000 books nationwide to under-resourced
schools. And as exciting as the arrival of new copies of Richard
Wright’s Black Boy and Leslie Marmon Silko’s Ceremony are to St.
Michael sophomores and seniors, the online mentorship provided by
Amherst students is equally welcome. Sara Ackerman Aoyama directs the
Doris Hiatt Mentoring Program, where St. Michael students discuss all
facets of literature with enthusiastic and committed college students.
Since St. Michael students logged on to the Reader to Reader online
discussion, reading focus has increased and expectations have risen.

Trust a good thing to spread by word of mouth. In late
March, at the invitation of St. Michael alum Bethany Hale, ten
students from Williams College in Massachusetts chose to spend their
Spring Break volunteering at St. Michael Indian School. Volunteer
Lyndsay Lau observed St. Michael sophomores chatting online with
Amherst mentors about Black Boy and asked how she could find out more
about the Reader to Reader program. Not surprisingly, she hopes to
convince her college to emulate the work of Mazor, Aoyama, and the
Amherst mentors!

Lau identified several aspects of the Reader to Reader
program that impressed her. “The fact that these college mentors were
recently in high school makes them very effective tutors. They
remember how it feels to be in high school but have also experienced
the level of work expected in college. Another thing that really
impressed me about the program was that it was a sustained program
that not only works with the high school students for one assignment
but actually follows the students throughout their high school
careers. I think that this is very important because it ensures that
the support of the program, and its lessons are not short-lived.”

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

He Stayed An Hour After Class Looking Through All The Books

Dear Reader To Reader,

Thank you so much for your donation of books to my classroom. Students have already checked out Flight and several other books that you included, and I know that these books are going to be read for years to come out here. One student was so excited that he stayed an hour after class looking through all the books. The three girls in the picture all ended up checking out two books each. I passed along word of Reader to Reader to several of my teacher friends, and it was included in the most recent TFA-South Dakota email blast. If you haven't already, you'll probably be getting more requests from this way.

Once again, thanks!

Noah Smith-Drelich
Crazy Horse School
Pine Ridge Reservation
Wanblee, SD

Friday, April 3, 2009

If you give us more books then I will be glad to read more books

Thank you for giving us some of your books. And if you give us more books then I will be glad to read more books that you send to us. It will be great if I read them so I am a good writer and you are a good sender. So we both have something in common and that's great. Also if you want to send me some books that I like then that will be awesome. And I will tell you what kind of books that I like and it's the books you sent us so thank you.

Pawtucket, RI

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

We Are a Small, Rural, Community School

Dear Reader To Reader,

My name is Veronica Holyoke. I am the librarian at Wellington School, in Monticello, Maine. Our principal, Nancy Wright, has given us the generous donation of books from Reader To Reader. I can’t tell you how delighted I was to receive the diverse assortment of books. We are a Pre-K to grade 3 school and were able to add the books to our library. We are a small, rural, community school and are so appreciative of book donations from Reader To Reader. Thank you again for thinking of us. I know our students will be thrilled to explore these new titles.


Veronica Holyoke
Wellington School
Monticello, ME