By Diane Lederman, The Republican
CHICOPEE – A one point in March, there were 40,000 books at the Belcher Elementary School ready for the taking by educators in Holyoke, Chicopee, Springfield and West Springfield.
While the numbers have dwindled, plenty of titles remain and David Mazor of Reader to Reader, Inc. is hoping to get the word out.
This is the fifth year the Amherst-based program dedicated to expanding literacy and learning opportunities to chronically underserved and vulnerable communities, has provided the books.
The books were donated with the help of Scholastic, Comcast, the Xeric Foundation, and the Chicopee Savings Bank Charitable Foundation and part of the “getting reading proficiency by the fourth grade” initiative, Mazor said.
Belcher Elementary School Principal Samuel Karlin has worked with Mazor for several years on this and other Reader to Reader programs.
This particular program is “a wonderful opportunity. Schools can get books into the hands of kids, which will only help reading.”
He said “They’re absolutely beautiful books.” Many are hardcover and “I don’t think the children would have access to them ordinarily.”
The books are used in classrooms, or added to the library and in some cases are given to children as gifts to take home.
The titles such as “Nate the Great & The Sticky Case” and “Spiderwick Chronicles: Care and Feeding of Sprites” are recognizable to the children. More than three dozen titles are available.
Any eligible school should contact Karlin at 413-594-3526 to arrange to pick them up. Books will be available until they are gone.