Tuesday, January 31, 2012

St. Michael Indian School Gets Rejuvenated Library

(Reader to Reader sent 40 boxes of books to help rejuvenate the St. Michael Indian School Library. The school is located on the Navajo Nation in St. Michaels, Arizona. The donation of 1,470 books has a total value of $16,000.)

Dear Reader to Reader,

Thank you so much!! The books are phenomenal that you sent. Every time a student comes in the library, they are shocked by the quantity and the quality of our new books! This will definitely help our students' love of reading develop, and it is making our library stronger.

I'm currently working on cataloging and finding shelving for all of the books. I'm having a wonderful time; I couldn't wait to come back to work from break! The next time you see our library, it will be unrecognizable from when you first saw it.

Thank you!

Melissa Coles
St. Michael Indian School
St. Michaels, Arizona

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

15 computers and tons of books!!

Dear Reader to Reader,

I received 15 computers and tons!! of books from you this past fall. I am writing to say thank you!

The computers have been put to very good use in our Read Naturally program.

The books are being used as incentives for students making gains in their reading scores. I've enclosed several pictures.

Once again, thank you.

Ann Marie Lake
Reading Coach
Warren Community Elementary School

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Report Finds New Mexico is Worst State for Children

New York, January 18, 2012 -- A strong relationship has been found among state tax
rates, the size of state investments in children and children’s quality-of-life, according to the STATE Child Well-Being Index (CWI). The report, Investing in Public Programs Matters: How State Policies Impact Children’s Lives, was released January 18th by the Foundation for Child Development (FCD), is the first ever to provide a comprehensive measure of children’s quality-of-life on a state-by-state basis.

“Because less than 10 percent of the federal budget is invested in children’s programs, state spending has a large impact on children’s well-being,” says Ruby Takanishi, President of FCD. “With this new measure, we can see proof of the direct impact of state policies: when states invest in children, children do better.”

The STATE CWI draws from a richer data set than previous state-level studies of child
well-being, assessing children’s quality-of-life in each state across 25 indicators clustered into seven domains (Family Economic Well-Being, Health, Safe/Risky Behavior, Educational Attainment, Community Engagement, Social Relationships, and
Emotional/Spiritual Well-Being) and comparing them across states. In addition, this
report includes new findings about the relationships between state policies and selected economic and demographic factors.

The report can be accessed at FCD’s website.

Key findings from the report include:

 Higher State Taxes Are Better for Children. States with higher tax rates were
found to have higher child well-being values.

 Government Programs Matter. Greater investments in government programs
are strongly related to better quality-of-life for children in a state.
Specifically, the amount of per pupil spending on education, the limits of Medicaid child eligibility thresholds and the levels of Temporary Assistance for
Needy Families (TANF) benefits show substantial correlations with child wellbeing.

 The Best and Worst States for Children: The states with the highest child wellbeing index values were New Jersey, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Utah,
Connecticut and Minnesota.

The states with the lowest index values were New Mexico, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas and Nevada.

 Child Well-Being Varies Greatly Among States. Not only did overall child
well-being values range tremendously from state to state, but great variation was
also found in specific indicators such as the child poverty rate (three times higher
in Mississippi than in Vermont, for example) and the rate of children without
health insurance (five times higher in Texas than in Massachusetts).

“Although states are currently revenue-starved, this is exactly the wrong time to reduce taxes,” says Takanishi. “The revenues generated by taxes should be used to invest more in the education and health of our children. Policymakers must recognize that the cost of shortchanging children today is too high a price to pay in the future.”

The report also makes recommendations for what state governments and the federal
government must do to protect investments in the health and education of our children.

William O’Hare, primary author of the report, states, “When we don’t invest in children, we see real consequences. In this time of economic uncertainty, it is critical that we do a better job of helping children become the productive workers and engaged citizens of tomorrow.”

This report was funded by the Foundation for Child Development and the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Reader to Reader Launches Partnership with Dartmouth College

Reader to Reader is proud to announce a new partnership with Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire.

This partnership, called CollegeKnowledge, centers around our mentoring program and will create a new multimedia college access mentoring program aimed at boosting Native American high school students’ success at navigating the college admissions process.

In addition to learning more about how to apply to school, participating students will also explore the ins and outs of college life and the many careers that come from a college education.

The pilot program will launch this February with Dartmouth college students producing weekly educational videos and using Skype to conference call with students attending the St. Michael Indian School in St. Michaels, Arizona.

The program will be run under the auspices of Dartmouth’s Native American Program. The Native American Program (NAP) provides student support services to Native students at Dartmouth.

“We are tremendously excited about this new partnership,” says Reader to Reader founder David Mazor. “Dartmouth’s founding mission in 1769 was to educate Native American students, and I believe that this collaboration will put Dartmouth and Reader to Reader on the cutting edge of 21st century programs developed for Native American high school students.”

Monday, January 9, 2012

Three Kings and Lots of Books

Jody Spitz, Family Literacy Coordinator for the Holyoke Public Schools in Holyoke, Massachusetts, came by and picked up 300 children’s books to give out at the annual Three Kings Celebration in Holyoke.

“Thank you Reader to Reader for helping to make our event such a success,” Spitz said.

The books included a wide range of children’s books in Spanish as well as English.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Founder of Reader to Reader program in Amherst receives literacy honor

By Nick Grabbe
Daily Hampshire Gazette

AMHERST - When David Mazor was 13, he found a used paperback by Boston Celtics center Bill Russell. Reading it opened his eyes to both racial discrimination and how to visualize what you want, he said.

"You never know what book someone will discover that will change their life," he said.

Forty years later, Mazor has changed thousands of lives by collecting books and donating them to poor towns and schools, Native American reservations, areas hit by natural disasters and 13 foreign countries. Mazor, who is marking his Reader to Reader program's 10th anniversary this year, was named one of 10 "literacy champions" by the Massachusetts Literacy Foundation in September.

"My guiding principle is that reading is the key that unlocks the door to success, whether it is academic achievement, better job opportunities or the simple joy that comes from discovering that reading is one of life's most enjoyable activities," he said in accepting the award.

Reader to Reader started in 2001 when Mazur woke up in the middle of the night wondering what the poorest town in the U.S. was. He went to his computer and found it was Durant, Miss., and in the morning called the town librarian and found she'd acquired no new books in four years. So he sent her a box of books that had been discarded around Amherst, and found that he enjoyed the experience.

Since then, Reader to Reader has collected and donated about 4.5 million books. It has branched out into numerous programs, encouraging teenage mothers to write, turning Amherst College students into online mentors for low-income children, and even placing books in the waiting rooms of state offices in Roxbury.

On Wednesday, he sent 300 books to Holyoke to be given to children as part of Friday's Three Kings Day celebration. In September, he sent 25,000 books to the public schools of Chicopee, also destined for schools in Springfield, West Springfield and Holyoke. In mid-December, a U-Haul truck left Amherst with 15,000 books, computers and toys for the Navajo Nation, bringing the total sent there this year to 50,000 books.

"We're isolated here, and these books give our students a wonderful window on the world," said Carla Clauschee, a librarian at a high school there.

The Literacy Champion Awards, started in 2003, are designed to identify, recognize and support people making contributions to the advancement of literacy. The award includes a grant of $3,500, which Mazor is using to launch Discover Books, a program for teenage parents in the Springfield schools.

The nine other literacy champions included an English instructor at a jail in Ludlow, a language arts teacher in Boston, a reading specialist at a charter school in Haverhill and a career counselor in Attleboro.

When Mazor began Reader to Reader, he found books at tag sales, library discard piles and the Amherst transfer station. Now he gets new books from publishers like Random House and Scholastic, from Barnes & Noble and from authors.

Stephanie Meyer, whose "Twilight" books have sold more than 100 million copies, found out about Reader to Reader and donated shirts, posters and books that became prizes at Navajo Pine High School in New Mexico. Singer Carly Simon sent 2,000 copies of a children's book she wrote.

Reader to Reader operates out of the Cadigan Center for Religious life at Amherst College, which has donated the basement space to the program. It also has a warehouse for books in Holyoke.

In July, Mazor hired his first full-time employee, Kathyrn Libby, who started volunteering at Reader to Reader on her second day as a student at Amherst College. She is running the mentoring program, which links children from low-income backgrounds with Amherst College students, who read the same books and discuss them online. This coming semester, 60 student mentors have signed up, and more than 250 low-income children have benefited from the program.

The new Springboard Program helps students in the Five Colleges learn skills necessary to lead their own literacy projects. Yet to be launched is Generation W, which will bring together low-income teen-agers and senior citizens.

Reader to Reader has also donated annually about 100 used computers that have been discarded by Amherst College. In August it sent computers to a school in Ghana, and in November it sent computers to libraries in Vermont and New York that had lost theirs in Tropical Storm Irene.

Mazor is mindful of the transition in books from print on paper to pixels on a screen. He's already thinking about the long-term impact on his supply of books when residents of affluent communities switch to e-readers, and the practicality of sending an encyclopedia to Costa Rica on an e-reader without having to pay massive shipping charges.

But he said the book is a technology that's been perfected over the centuries, and there's still something wonderful about holding a book, opening it and turning the pages.

"I spent a lot of time at the Jones Library wandering around randomly, pulling books off shelves," he said. "Libraries let you discover books you didn't know you'd want to read."

Daily Hampshire Gazette © 2011 All rights reserved

Monday, January 2, 2012

It’s a new year! Hold a Reader to Reader book drive!

Want to help children that need books? Hold a Reader to Reader book drive and help bring thousands of books to kids in low-income communities across the country.

It’s easy!

Just use these handy book drive guidelines book drive guidelines.