Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Reading Mentors Hard at Work

Our Amherst College reading mentors have been hard at work corresponding with children across the United States. The energetic team of 40 college students manage to cover 81 books, all while juggling their own heavy class loads.

Reader To Reader’s Doris Hiatt Mentoring Program and Navajo Mentoring Program bring 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, October 23, 2009

Three Cheers!!!!

Three cheers and a truck load of gratitude to Rose and Larry Minior!

Rose and Larry gave many dedicated years of volunteer service bringing books that were donated in the Boston area to our headquarters in Amherst. Many times they loaded up their Jeep to overflowing! They are now retiring from this service and we want to thank them from the bottom of our hearts for the hundreds of boxes they have delivered to our door. They are two in a million!

Monday, October 19, 2009

What a Pleasant Surprise!

Dear Reader To Reader,

What a pleasant surprise I had yesterday when I went to get my mail and discovered you had left the copy of Breaking Dawn and the two copies of The Lovely Bones I had requested. The students are so happy to have them in our library.

Thank you so much!


Ellen Stein, Librarian
Holyoke High School
Holyoke, MA

Monday, October 12, 2009

Each Child Gets to Select a Book to Take Home

Dear Reader to Reader,

I received the carton of books you sent to help Concord Prison Outreach provide books to kids who come to visit their dads in prison. Several times a year, Concord Prison Outreach sponsors Family Day at the Northeastern Correctional Center in Concord, MA. It's a festive visiting day with crafts and activities for the kids to do. As part of the event, the kids get their picture taken with their dads. One print is sent home with the children and one is a precious keepsake for the dads (tucked in a frame decorated by their children). At the end of the visit, each child gets to select a book to take home.

In recent years, the number of children attending Family Days has grown, and it's a challenge to provide new and gently used books for every child at each event. Your donation of these wonderful books will help ensure that the kids go home not only with a happy memory and a cherished photo, but also with a book to call their own.

Thank you for the great work you do and for this much appreciated gift.

With all good wishes,

Phyllis Staffier
Concord Prison Outreach Volunteer
Concord, MA

Thursday, October 8, 2009

We Are So Very Grateful

Dear Reader To Reader,

We received the books at our new address just a few weeks ago. They are much appreciated. The children love them. I noticed several series books among the many wonderful titles and, as you know, a child who reads and likes one in a series, will devour the rest. We are so very grateful.

I am delighted.

Teresa Pfeifer, Librarian
Zanetti Montessori Magnet School
Springfield, MA

Monday, October 5, 2009

One Box, Two Box....220 Boxes and Growing!

Our Navajo Nation Library Book Drive continues to grow thanks to the generosity of donors from across the country.

Pictured is Reader to Reader’s Kathryn Libby with some of the 220 boxes that will be part of the first shipment of books at the end of October to the Navajo Nation Library in Window Rock, Arizona.

Special thanks this week to the Mystery Writers of America and the League of Women Voters of Northampton, MA for all the books they have contributed.

The Navajo Nation Library Book Drive is collecting 100,000 books and 100 computers for the Navajo Nation Library. The library serves the 27,000 sq. mile Navajo Nation in Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah.

It is not too late to donate books to the book drive. Please help us by following these guidelines.

1. Books should be in very good or excellent condition. (Books on Native-American subjects will be accepted in any condition).
2. Books on the subject of medicine or health should be no older than 4 years old.
3. CDs and DVDs accepted. No records, VHS or cassette tapes.
4. No magazines.
5. No textbooks.
6. No encyclopedias.
7. Donations of more than 10 boxes of books at a time should first contact us at so we can make storage space arrangements.
8. People interested in donating computers should first contact us at before making the donation. All computer donations must be preapproved.

Books should be shipped to:

Navajo Nation Book Drive
Reader To Reader, Inc.
Cadigan Center – 38 Woodside Ave.
Amherst, MA 01002

For further information contact

Thank you for helping to make the Navajo Nation Library Book Drive a success!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Amherst Student Links With College Organization to Help Costa Rican Village

The Amherst Student
By Diana Torres '12, News Section Editor

Every summer, thousands of American college students work in third world countries to help “make a difference in the world”. They build houses in remote Mexican towns, tutor children in Uganda or give poor Nicaraguan women microfinance loans to help them start their own businesses. During their stay, students are often shocked by the abject poverty they find and try to lend a helping hand.

However, most student experiences end with the summer when they come back to the United States and return to their comparatively privileged lives. Cait Scudder ’11, however, was not satisfied by volunteering for merely three short months after her stay in Costa Rica this past summer. The villagers’ poor living conditions were too grim, too sad and too unjust for her to continue living a comfortable life without remembering the people she saw struggling everyday to put food on the table.

Scudder returned to the College with a new mission. She wanted to make a sustainable difference in the community she worked in, and to her, the best way to do so was to help improve the poor education system she saw in the town.

Santa Cruz de León Cortés, the small town she volunteered at, does not provide children with a quality education. The children do not have access to books and they do not know how to use the 12 donated computers idly sitting in their computer lab. In the high school’s 2008 graduating class, only 50 percent of students graduated, while only one student went on to pursue a university education. And amongst the adults in the community, only a few have a high school education. According to Scudder, “The cycle of academic underachievement and general disinterest originates from a lack of adequate available resources that are crucial to inspire success.”

To change this situation, Scudder decided to partner up with “Reader To Reader,” an on-campus organization that provides books, computers and tutoring services to underprivileged communities. Through this partnership, Scudder created “Beyond El Campo,” an organization committed to providing educational resources to the Santa Cruz community. Through fundraising, grant and letter writing, Scudder plans to raise enough money to build a new library in the high school during the summer of 2010. A certified library technician from Hartford will teach community members how to run the library sustainably and how to use the available computers to enhance students’ learning experience. Once this is done, bilingual Amherst students will begin tutoring Santa Cruz scholars through an online blogging system. Scudder hopes that the program will help reduce the drop-out rate, increase student reading in and outside of the classroom, raise the graduation rate, provide the high school with the initial resources it needs in order to grow and become sustainable and to create work and volunteer involvement opportunities for the Santa Cruz community through the new library.

“I am thrilled about this project and the opportunity to bring what we do at Reader To Reader to the schools in Costa Rica that need it most,” said Scudder. “Having spent significant time within a rural Costa Rican school community, I have seen the need and know the passion these kids have to learn is real. By equipping schools with the crucial tools they need in order to make their classrooms academically successful, we are making it possible for these schools to improve the quality of education they give to students, and help them enable students to strive for heights they never knew were reachable.”