Thursday, September 30, 2010

Three Cheers for Bettina!

We received a wonderful email from Bettina Kinlichinie, a graduate of our Navajo Mentoring Program. In 2008, Bettina traveled with a group of Navajo students to Amherst for a week of exploration of college life and careers. She also spent three years doing outstanding work in our online mentoring program. Her email highlights the lasting impact of this program.

Hello Mr. Mazor,

This is Bettina Kinlichinie from Navajo Pine High School. I was just looking at the Reader to Reader website and found the blog article about our trip there. Brought back a lot of fond memories. I cannot believe it has been so long since then!

I'm just writing to give you another thank you. As the months passed after visiting Massachusetts, I began to read a whole lot more. Actually now, because of my extensive reading, my new college career seems just a bit easier. I can comprehend the material I am reading from the textbooks.

Just to catch you up, I graduated from Navajo Pine as the valedictorian, was awarded the Chief Manuelito Scholarship, and accepted into Arizona State University. I'm studying agribusiness science (pre-veterinary).

Thank you again and forever more for making my educational goals possible.



Congratulations Bettina, we are so proud of you, and we know you will be a big success in college!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

****Breaking News!****An Urgent Call For Your Help****

For Immediate Release

Contact information:
David Mazor

Reader to Reader Pledges $50,000 in Books to Rebuild School Library Destroyed By Arson

On September 12, the Mesa Elementary School Library located on the Navajo Nation in Shiprock, New Mexico, was destroyed by fire and all its contents were lost. The FBI is investigating the fire as arson.

Reader to Reader has pledged $50,000 worth of books to rebuild the library. The nonprofit literacy organization based in Amherst will be sending books from its inventory and is launching a book drive to aid the school. The organization is seeking donation of new and gently used children’s books.

“It is extremely heartwarming that you are coming to our aid in our time of need,” said Mesa Elementary principal, Pandora Mike. "I am completely floored and it brings me to tears. Our hearts will be touched forever.”

Interested donors are asked to contact Reader to Reader at 413-256-8595 or email Donors can also donate funds to Reader to Reader to buy books in the Navajo language and for other specialized needs they have. 100% of the funds donated for the book drive will be used to rebuild the library. Donations can be made online as well. (Online donations should note Mesa Elementary.) Please make checks payable to Reader to Reader and write “Mesa Library” on the detail line. Your donations will be tax deductible.

Donations of books should be sent to:

Reader to Reader
(Mesa Elementary Book Drive)
Cadigan Center
38 Woodside Ave.
Amherst, MA 01002

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Sweetest Person, the Sweetest Song

A special thank you to singer Carly Simon for her donation of thousands of her children’s book and tape Mother Gooses Basket Full Of Rhymes.

This wonderful board book contains 15 children’s favorites, beautifully illustrated by Steven Haskamp. Embedded in the cover of the book is an audiocassette with a musical adaptation of each rhyme composed and performed by legendary singer-songwriter Carly Simon. Each rhyme is interpreted by Simon and her accompanist Teese Gohl in its own unique way.

Thank you Carly, you are the greatest!

Monday, September 13, 2010

We are most grateful for the support

Dear Reader to Reader,

Thank you for your donation of 300 children’s books to White Street School. They will be used as a part of our Back to School Literacy Celebration for our families, and every family that attends will now be able to take home at least one free book to stock family libraries.

White Street School is one of the ten schools in Springfield that has been designated as a Level 4, chronically underperforming school. As such, we have spent the summer, and continue still, to write a rigorous and innovative redesign plan to improve our teaching and learning to better meet the needs of our families and students. Our plan has a tenacious focus on literacy and families; this kick-off event is an integral part of the work. The donation of Reader to Reader has allowed us to meet the goal of a book for every family without taxing our Early Implementation Grant; thus freeing some of those funds for other important purposes.

We are most grateful for the support. The work of urban education in our current financial situation is challenging and not work that we work that we can do alone in schools. We need our community and we are indebted to Reader to Reader for the prompt and generous support.


Deborah Lantaigne
White Street School
Springfield, MA

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Writers and the Readers

Famous author Norton Juster (The Phantom Tollbooth) spoke with the women in Reader to Reader’s Athena Interactive Literacy Program. Juster talked about his writing process and the importance reading to children from the earliest age.

He also presented each student with a copy of his children’s book The Hello, Goodbye Window to share with their children.

The Athena Interactive Literacy Program is a week-long workshop that works with pregnant and parenting teens in order to build their reading and writing skills, and to explore healthy eating and cooking. The young mothers in the program currently attend The Care Center in Holyoke, Massachusetts, where they are working on getting their G.E.D.s so they can attend college.

Also on hand was noted literacy advocate Jim Trelease (The Read-Aloud Handbook) who spoke on the importance of parents in building early vocabulary and reading skills. “The parents are the most important professors a child will ever have,” he explained.