Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Bringing Hope to a Classroom Devoid of Books

Rebecca Javadi, a Teach for America volunteer who is teaching in inner-city Detroit at Marvin L. Winans Academy of Performing Arts, visited Reader to Reader and picked out hundreds of books for her first grade class. She spoke about the challenge of sparking an interest in reading when she faced a complete absence of resources.

“When I walked into my classroom for the first time there wasn’t a single book, says Rebecca Javadi. “I have collected a few books throughout the year for the class. With those books my students have created a reading club during lunch. Receiving these books from Reader to Reader is going to help my students expand their imagination and joy of reading.”

Knowing the impact the books would have on her students literally gave her happy tears of joy.

“The is an amazing, amazing place!" she said, her arms full of books. "Thank you for all you do. This will mean so much to them. I can’t wait to share these books with all my students!”

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Athena Program Set for 2nd Summer

When you think of why you love reading, I bet you think of times you spent with someone you love. A parent, a sibling, a special teacher; whoever it is, I guarantee that your love of reading comes from the time you shared with that person. That’s why reading clubs are so successful!

Last summer, Reader to Reader decided to bring that same experience to teen moms and their children, two groups that are at high risk of low literacy and academicfailure.

This August, the Athena Interactive Literacy Program will again feature 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. Athena supplements their studies, giving them a dynamic week of exploration that moves beyond test taking to help them discover the joy of being a student.

The program brings together an exciting team of educators, writers, and artists, including noted writing teacher Peter Elbow, illustrious author Norton Juster, and Chef Bill Collins, a graduate of the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts with over 15 years professional experience, including the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Boston. The students spend mornings exploring reading and writing in a variety of interesting settings, including recording poetry at a professional recording studio, and
afternoons are dedicated to learning to cook healthy food for themselves and their children.

All activities strongly emphasize family literacy. To engage both mother and child in literacy, art teacher Julie Zuchman (pictured below) gave a wonderful class in board book making so that the young mothers can share a handmade book with their children. One mother created a book to chronicle the family’s journey to their new home in Florida that next week. Another said “I read to [my son] every night, definitely, it’s important.” Executive Director David Mazor says, “When they sit and read a book to their child, that child will want to hold the book themselves.” The mothers are encouraged to use their creative writing skills to create a world of
possibility for their children, even from the cradle.

These young women are accomplishing so much with their lives: “I’m young, I’m still going to school, and I gotta keep my head up.” The Athena Interactive Literacy Program strives to give these moms a leg up in their own education and health, and the skills they need to give their kids the same opportunity.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Two Authors Make Generous Donation

Authors Alice Schertle and Susan Pearson pose with more than $5,000 worth of their hard cover children’s books they donated to Reader to Reader. The books will benefit children across the United States.

We will be including a large number of their titles in our next shipment to the Navajo Nation Library in Window Rock, Arizona. The books will be used in the library's children's room and for outreach across the 27,000 sq. mile Navajo Nation.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Vampires Come to Holyoke

Holyoke High School librarian, Ellen Stein, shows a copy of Vampire Diaries, part of a recent young adult vampire books delivery Reader to Reader made this week.

“The students will love these!” says Ellen Stein. “We look forward to all your deliveries and new young adult books really spark their interest.”