Monday, June 25, 2012

Reader to Reader Receives Award for Work in Chicopee

Reader to Reader founder David Mazor accepted the CCPTO Civic Award on behalf of Reader to Reader. The honor was presented at an award dinner hosted by the Chicopee Parent Teacher Organization.

“We thank Reader to Reader for all they have done to help Chicopee’s schools, including the $1,000,000 worth of books they have donated,” said Samuel Karlin, principal at Belcher Elementary. “They have also donated new laptop computers and they provide an outstanding mentoring program for our students.”

Reader to Reader has been working with schools in Chicopee, Massachusetts for almost a decade, providing an essential resource lifeline. In the spring of 2012 they donated 40,000 new children’s books to area schools.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Reader to Reader Hosts StoryZone

Reader to Reader staff had a fun weekend at the Taste of Amherst hosting our StoryZone.

Where better to get a story read to you on request?

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Costa Rica Library Project Starts 3rd Year

(A group of students from Amherst College, plus a student from Reed College, are in Costa Rica for the summer working on the Beyond el Campo project. Over the past two summers, the Reader to Reader project built a community library and ran literacy programs in the coffee-farming village of Santa Cruz. Here is their first report.)

We finally made it to Costa Rica! We arrived in Santa Cruz on Wednesday afternoon and met our host families. After settling in, we all met at the library and discussed ideas for what needs to be done this summer. On Thursday, we toured Santa Cruz in the morning, and in the afternoon we did some much-needed cleaning in the library. Friday, we went to the elementary school and met with the principal to discuss a potential partnership between the school and the library, and watched the children’s soccer match. After lunch, we finished cleaning the library, stabilized the bookshelves, and reorganized all of the books. This included familiarizing ourselves with the library’s catalog system, cataloging new books, updating the call numbers, and synchronizing the electronic database with the books on hand. We then met with Joanna, a Spanish teacher at the high school, and offered the library as a resource. Both the elementary and high school teachers were receptive and eager to collaborate with us.

On Saturday, Alex and Ned went to San Jose to buy new books, soccer ball shaped beanbags, educational posters, flash cards, and art supplies for the library. They also talked with people in three different bookstores to arrange bulk purchases of books that the elementary and high school teachers had asked us to stock for their students. Sergio’s father donated free soccer turf to use as a carpet for our soccer-themed reading area. Ali, Caitlin, Rose, and Emma stayed in Santa Cruz and made and distributed fliers to advertise our meet-and-greet that we hosted in the library on Sunday. The girls also bought ingredients to make cookies. We spent four hours and baked a hundred cookies.

On Sunday, we finished organizing the books and went to church, after which we had our meet and greet with free coffee and cookies that we made. It was a huge success; the library was packed, and we met many of the locals. Over fifty books were checked out that day as well. On Monday, we sanded the library’s ceiling and met with a group of high school students to present our thoughts about how the library could better serve the community. They gave us much positive feedback and also suggested some movies that we could show on our weekly movie nights. Today, we began to repaint the outside of the library, and primed and painted the ceiling all day. When we arrived, the ceiling was an unfinished, splotchy grey. Now, the ceiling is a bright sky blue and will include painted clouds and a sun.

For the upcoming week, we will be going to the elementary school to tutor a couple of children with learning disabilities, visit English classes and help out with some fun activities. We will visit the high school to host a cooking class, and continue to clean and paint the library.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Katy Moonan Joins Reader to Reader Staff

We are pleased to welcome Katy Moonan to our staff as our new Family Literacy Coordinator. Katy has been a world traveler all her life. Having grown up in Mexico, she is fluent in Spanish and has interned with youth and entrepreneurship projects in New Zealand, Mexico, and the USA. Katy graduated from Smith College in 2012 with a BA in Government: International Relations and a minor in Postcolonial Development. This training and her experience in cultural competency make her a unique addition to our team. Her newest adventure is to direct all family literacy programming for Reader to Reader and act as special liaison to the Holyoke Public School District here in Massachusetts. As the majority of Holyoke is Puerto Rican, her fluency and experiences are instrumental to our programs.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

6,500 Books for Maine

We're very pleased to be expanding our work in Maine, where one in four children suffer from food insecurity and public education budgets are suffering tremendously from poor state leadership and a weak economy.

On behalf of the students and staff of Alfred Elementary School, I would like to express our sincere thanks for the generous donation of books to our school. Your Reader to Reader program is truly making a difference. Our students were so excited and could not wait to read and explore the new books donated to their classrooms. Your donation also allowed us to add books to our Literacy support program. This program is designed to provide intervention support for our struggling readers. During these challenging financial times programs like yours are so very necessary. We are very appreciative and grateful for your donation.


Virginia Drouin
Principal, Alfred Elementary

Alfred Elementary School is just one of the schools in York and Cumberland counties in Maine that are receiving new books from Reader to Reader this year. In these poor and rural areas, resources that were minimal to start are rapidly shrinking. Many schools and libraries are unable to purchase new books, leaving their students and teachers without access to a variety of stimulating and engaging materials.

With increased access to books, students have greater opportunity to read, for fun and in class. This translates directly into improved academic success and greater potential for future success. Reader to Reader strongly believes in the ability of young people of all backgrounds, and in the power of reading to facilitate their success.

These donations were made possible by the generous support of the Samuel L. Cohen Foundation and Scholastic.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Books for St. Bonaventure Mission Indian School

Our recent round of library assessments concluded with a visit to the St. Bonaventure Mission Indian School, which is located on the eastern edge of the Navajo Nation in Thoreau, New Mexico. We brought with us a box of books with various titles that they had requested.

The school was founded in 1974 by Bishop Hastrich, bishop of the Diocese of Gallup, New Mexico. Thoreau is a desperately poor town, and all the school’s 200 students attend completely tuition-free.

Friday, June 1, 2012

A Library Transformed at St. Michael Indian School

We are so pleased to see our work paying off for the students at St. Michael Indian High School in St. Michaels, Arizona.

Working with librarian Melissa Coles, we have replaced half the books in her library. This summer we will replace many of the rest. We will also be donating 5 Dell Optiplex 620 computers to replace the one antiquated computer the library currently has. Gone are the out-dated, tired, threadbare books that were of little relevance or interest to their students. Now they have a modern and relevant collection. The new fantasy section is just one example.

"Looking around the library as the school year ends, it is unrecognizable to how it looked in August, There are new, fun books and happy students. Thank you for helping make this possible."--Melissa Coles, Librarian.

(Top Picture: Melissa Coles and Reader to Reader's Kathryn Libby)