Friday, September 25, 2009

Doris Hiatt Mentoring Program Doubles in Size

Enthusiastic Amherst College students from diverse backgrounds gathered together as Reader To Reader launched the third year of the Doris Hiatt Mentoring Program.

The Doris Hiatt Mentoring Program has more than doubled in size again for the 2009-2010 school year. The online mentoring program began in 2008 with 7 mentors. In 2009, 17 mentors were hired as three new schools joined the program, and for the 2009-2010 school year over 40 mentors will help students across the country explore books, build academic skills, and develop a love for reading.

The innovative 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.

Jim Trelease, noted literacy advocate and author of The Read-Aloud Handbook has been a strong supporter of the program.

"With online connections now present in most urban schools, we've got one half of the personal 'mentoring' program in place. David Mazor's Reader To Reader project now completes the formula, providing top-notch college students as mentors via the Web and email.” Trelease explains. “What the program accomplished with motivating Native-American youths while connecting them to college-age mentors 3,000 miles away is one of those unsung success stories that deserves national recognition. It begs the question: Why isn't it being adopted by other cities and rural districts across the nation?"

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