Monday, December 21, 2015

Books for Students on the Red Lake Nation

Students at Red Lake High School, on the Red Lake Nation in Minnesota, enjoy their Reader to Reader book donation.

Reader to Reader runs multiple program that support Native American students all across the United States.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Books on the Way to The Bahamas for Hurricane Relief

Hurricane Joaquin, which missed the U.S. mainland in early October, did terrible damage to the Bahamas, especially the country's southern islands.

Hurricane Joaquin, which at its peak had wind speeds of 155 MPH, was only the 20th Category 4 or 5 hurricane to impact the island nation in historical records dating all the way back to 1851.

Schools were severely damaged with many losing all their books, computers, furniture and school supplies.

Many homes were completely destroyed, with 87% of the homes on Crooked Island totally destroyed.

We are pleased to be part of the relief effort, and we are already shipping boxes of books and school supplies.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Hope of Haiti Project Continues to Aid Haiti School

Haeinn Woo, the founder of the Hope of Haiti project, recently brought books from Reader to Reader and funds raised by Mt. Holyoke students to the school that is supported in Haiti.

Hope of Haiti is one of eight international projects created and supported through Reader to Reader’s Springboard Program.

Since being established after Haiti’s devastating 2010 earthquake, Hope of Haiti has donated books, school supplies and paid teachers’ salaries in order to further education in Haiti.

About the Springboard Program

The Springboard Program brings Five College students into the world of non-profit work through the development and implementation of their own international or domestic literacy project. Springboard guides students through the entire process, teaching them the skills necessary to lead their own literacy project and giving them unparalleled leadership opportunity.

Past Springboard projects have included building a public library in a coffee farming village in Costa Rica, establishing a school to teach women to read in Nigeria, and expanding a special education program in the Dominican Republic.

If you are interested in learning more about the Springboard Program please click here.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Meet Jeanette Ortega, Reader to Reader Navajo Nation Outreach Coordinator

Reader to Reader’s amazing Navajo Nation Outreach Coordinator Jeannette Ortega helps high school students on the Navajo Nation prepare for ACT/SAT tests, college applications, and making the transition to college life.  Here she is in her classroom at Wingate High School, Ft. Wingate, New Mexico.

Reader to Reader’s work on the Navajo Nation is funded in part by the Fordham Street Foundation, Lynn & Jean Miller, and the Hiatt Family Foundation.

This our fourth year having a full-time staff person based on the Navajo Nation, and  just like the Outreach Coordinators that preceded her, Jeannette is doing a spectacular job of helping students prepare for college.

Jeanette is a 2015 graduate of Amherst College, and previously worked as a summer intern for Reader to Reader in 2014.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Reader to Reader in Hurricane Relief Effort for Bahamas Schools

Hurricane Joaquin, which missed the U.S. mainland in early October, did terrible damage to the Bahamas, especially the country’s southern islands.

Schools were severely damaged with many losing all their books, computers, furniture and school supplies. 

We are pleased to be part of the relief effort, and we are already shipping boxes of books. 

Please contact us if you would like to help. Email us at

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Reader to Reader Announces Partnership with Scholastic

Reader to Reader is very pleased to announce a new partnership with Scholastic.

Scholastic Corporation is a U.S. publishing, education and media company known for publishing, selling, and distributing books and educational materials for schools, teachers, parents, and children.

We are very pleased to be working with Scholastic on a donation of tens of thousands of books to schools in underserved communities.

Thank you to the great people at Scholastic for making Reader to Reader one of their partners!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

E-Readers Donated to School in Gallina, New Mexico

Heather Nielsen from the Great Books Summer Program brought us a wonderful donation of 20 e-readers. They are now on their way to Coronado High School in Gallina, New Mexico. 

Students at the school are increasingly using e-readers as a way to get access to a wide variety of books. 

Reader to Reader's Computer Donation Program donates new computers, tablets and e-readers, and refurbished Dell and Apple computers to schools with strong need for access to technology.

Computer labs have been built in New York City, on the Navajo Nation, the Hopi Nation, western Massachusetts, Costa Rica, Ghana, Kosovo,Nicaragua, and Trinidad & Tobago.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Books for Schools in Chicopee, MA!

Reader to Reader is pleased to be donating thousands of new children’s books for schools in Chicopee. Massachusetts.

Here is principal Samuel Karlin of Belcher Elementary with some of our book donation.

This book donation is made possible through the generous support of the F.I.S.H. Foundation, Inc., and the Irene E. & George A. Davis Foundation.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Books for Bridgeport Schools!

Reader to Reader is pleased to donate thousands of children’s books for schools in Bridgeport, Connecticut through our Bridgeport Literacy Initiative.

The Bridgeport Literacy Initiative is sponsored by the Xerox Corporation.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Thank You for Filling the Book Bus!

Thank you to everyone that helped fill the Book Bus with thousands of books!

The books will be donated to schools and libraries that sorely lack books, and every book will bring a smile to a child.

This was our second year filling the book bus and we got double the number of books that we received last year.

A special thank you to WRSI and the Eric Carle Museum for making the Book Bus book  drive possible.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Help Us Fill the Book Bus!

What’s the Book Bus? It’s a school bus that we – with your help – fill with children’s books! The books are then sorted and distributed to places that need them, like Springfield and Holyoke public schools and libraries, and Native American reservations.

We filled the Book Bus last year, will you help us fill it even more this year? It’s easy!

– Bring used or new children’s books to the Eric Carle Museum between 10 and noon on Saturday 9/12.
–  Put them on the bus!
–  Every kid that brings books gets free admission to the Carle that day!

To make it even more fun our friend Jarrett J. Krosoczka is celebrating his 30th(!) published book, It’s Tough to Lose Your Balloon. Meet Jarrett, get a book signed and even watch the new short film of his book Peanut Butter and Jellyfish.  Jarrett’s appearance starts at 11 am.

Bring a book, a bag of books, bring a whole library – we want as many books as we can get! New, used, all are welcome.

A special thank you to WRSI and the The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Restocking for the Fall!

We are restocking with thousands of new children’s books in order to be ready to donate to schools in the new school year.

In the past three weeks we have received over 5,000 new books and more are on the way from a variety of publishers.

It's going to be a great year!

Friday, August 21, 2015

Children Celebrate Their New Books!

Children at Horizons at San Francisco Friends School, in San Francisco, California, celebrate their book donation of children's books in Spanish and English.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Computers Ready to donate!

We are stocking up on refurbished Dell Optiplex and iMac computers.

We will be donating lots of computers this fall to schools and outreach programs that need computer labs and computers for classrooms.

Reader to Reader’s Computer Donation Program donates new computers and e-readers, and refurbished Dell and Apple computers to schools with strong need for access to technology. The used computers are donated and refurbished by Amherst College and have been serviced by their IT department to be completely ready to run right out of the box. Computer labs have been built on the Navajo Nation, the Hopi Nation, western Massachusetts, Costa Rica, Ghana, Kosovo, Nicaragua, and Trinidad & Tobago.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Reader to Reader's New Literacy Explorers Summer Program Builds English Skills

This summer we launched Literacy Explorers, our new summer program at the Amherst Regional Public Schools in Amherst, Massachusetts. 
A rotating team of nine interns and three Reader to Reader staff worked with eight kids, often one on one, to discover books and other activities that made for a fun learning environment.
Working with kindergarten students whose home language is not English, or who simply want more time to practice English skills over the summer, we created a story-rich environment full of opportunities to read and write.

Over the program's three weeks, students worked on projects such as creating their own alphabet books, designing letter-themed t-shirts, writing and illustrating short booklets, various crafts, and drawing accompanied with verbal and written word practice.
We hope we made as much of an impact on these kids as they made on us. We'll sure miss them!

Literacy Explorers is a part of Reader to Reader's DiscoverBooks Program.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Oh, The Places You'll Go!

From the Tasha Community Library in Nigeria:

“I have received the shipment of the books, I am grateful.

Recently, my librarian shared a story with me of a boy who visited the library and stole the book he was reading, simply because he so much loved the story book that he could not finish reading the book before the library closed. Unknown to the young child of about 7 years, the librarian had planned to ask him for the book when next he visits the library. Just after two days, the mother of the child came apologizing to our librarian for her child and his obsession for books, thanks to the colorful books you are sharing with us. The books are doing great stuff."

"Stories like this are resonating in our libraries and we are working hard to sustain the interest of these underserved kids in reading and learning everything they could.

I noticed you gave us two copies of Dr. Seuss's " Oh, The Places You'll Go!" The book has inspired a lot of the children during our reading sessions.

Please see attached pictures of the Reader to Reader banner at Tasha Community Library.”

Monday, June 29, 2015

Thank you to Bruce's Browser

We are always sad when a bookstore closes, but we are grateful to Bruce's Browser, Athol, Massachusetts, for donating all their books to us. 

The thousands of new books on a wide variety of topics will be going to the Navajo Nation library in Window Rock, Arizona. 

The Navajo Nation Library is the sole library serving the 27,000 square-mile Navajo Nation in Arizona and New Mexico.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Beyond el Campo Team Spends Summer in Costa Rica

This year’s Beyond el Campo team, Leonie Rauls, Melissa Martinez and Maria Vergara, arrived in Santa Cruz, Costa Rica, where they taught their first English class at the public library.

“We taught them the body parts and played an interactive game of putting note cards with the body parts on someone's body. Then we sang the Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes song to reinforce what they had learned. “

About Beyond el Campo

Beyond el Campo, a project of Reader to Reader's Springboard Program, seeks to combat the issue of educational inequality in Costa Rica by providing essential tools and educational resources to inspire success. Its goals are to provide a public space that serves as a community center for learning and creative engagement; to equip that space with resources that connect students with their own passions and interests; and to offer educational programs and workshops open to the entire community.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Recording Spoken Word Poetry at Northfire Recording Studio

Teen mothers from Holyoke, MA, went to Northfire Studio to record their spoken word poetry on day 2 of our Athena Program.

The Athena Program works with teen mothers from Holyoke, MA, and combines personal literacy and family literacy with healthy eating and cooking.

The Athena Program is sponsored by Florence Bank and Northfire Recording Studio.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Athena Program Kicks Off 6th Year!

Day 1 of our 6th annual Athena Interactive Literacy Program kicked off with Chef Bill Collins demonstrating how to make homemade lemonade, and the versatility of the egg.

The Athena Program works with teen mothers from Holyoke, MA, and combines personal literacy and family literacy with healthy eating and cooking.

The Athena Program is sponsored by Florence Bank.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Books for Summer Reading on the Navajo Nation!

We are pleased to donate 2,056 new children’s books for summer reading for kids in the Gallup-McKinley County School District.

"Thank you so much for the wonderful books for Elementary students. We received them in time to send them home to students for summer reading. I cannot express enough how precious these books are to our community and how much they are appreciated!"

-Cindi Tah
Library Media and Assessment Specialist
Gallup McKinley County Schools
Gallup, NM

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Visiting Schools in New Mexico

Our recent trip to New Mexico took us to schools on the Navajo Nation and in Albuquerque, where we are expanding our Read, Think, Share mentoring program, and our book and computer donations. 

Friday, May 15, 2015

Giving Out Books on the Navajo Nation

St. Michael High School students in St. Michaels, Arizona (the capital of the Navajo Nation). were thrilled that they could each take home a few books donated by Reader to Reader today. One student told me how excited she was to have something to read over the summer, since she loves reading and was almost out of things to read. A group of freshmen traded book recommendations and bargained with each other over who could borrow which book in what order. Another student was very excited to take home a beautiful book of photos from National Geographic. A student who just returned from a mission trip to the Philippines chose to take home "Mountains Beyond Mountains," about Dr. Paul Farmer's efforts to provide health care in Haiti.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Helping Dad's Make a Difference

We are so happy to be providing books through our DiscoverBooks program for HCS Head Start's "Dads Make a Difference" event and parade, in Holyoke, Massachusetts, again this year. 

Dads, kids, and books -- what a great combination!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Time For Our Annual Spring Book Extravaganza!

Samuel Karlin, principal of Chicopee’s Belcher Elementary School, came in during school vacation to help us prepare for our annual Spring Book Extravaganza, where we will be giving out thousands of free books for K-12 schools.

Each spring we give out over 15,000 new children's books from a wide variety of publishers to schools and outreach programs in the cities of Springfield, Holyoke, Chicopee and West Springfield, Massachusetts.

This book giveaway is made possible through the generous support of the F.I.S.H. Foundation, Inc., the Irene E. & George A. Davis Foundation, and Chicopee Savings Bank. 

Friday, April 10, 2015

Donating Children's Books in Guyana

Reader to Reader is pleased to work with the U.S Embassy Humanitarian Assistance Program in Guyana to distribute hundreds of children’s books.

The recent book donation benefited 140 families in three villages.

Reader to Reader's book and computer donations aid projects in 17 countries.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Read, Think, Share Results Presented at Literacy Essentials Conference

Last weekend, our Director of Mentoring Programs, Dennis Quinn, presented results from our Read, Think, Share mentoring program at the 9th annual Literacy Essentials Conference at Central Connecticut State University.

Students working with Read, Think, Share mentors report increases in reading persistence and comprehension, along with stronger writing skills.  Most importantly, the program makes reading and writing a daily habit.

One student Dennis featured in the poster said, “This class has improved my reading. It has made me more interested in books, and I've been reading a lot more because of this class. I've read about six books and am still reading more.”

It's all made possible by our amazing crew of mentors!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Newspaper Features Read, Think, Share Mentoring Program

Amherst-based Reader to Reader takes literacy efforts online with help of Five College students

Special to The Republican By Cori Urba
on March 25, 2015 
AMHERST - Boguslaw Janiszewski, a second-year student at Hampshire College studying English literature, creative writing and philosophy, has never met any of the public school students he mentors in reading: It's done online.
"But I know first hand that, by exciting these individuals and by reading with them what they want to read - freely - the students we work with are able to offer themselves fully to a book or piece of text and truly digest the material, whether emotional or semantic," he says.
Janiszewski is a mentor in the Reader to Reader program.
"It's really interesting because by just pointing out certain aspects or perspectives in a text, these kids really do just exhibit their love for books and a premature possibility of studying in the field of academia by really asking and answering some hard-ball, mind-bending questions," he added.
Housed in the Cadigan Center for Religious Life on the campus of Amherst College, Reader to Reader involved in 2014 more than 135 Pioneer Valley college students in mentoring more than 1,000 mostly middle-school students in its Read, Think, Share literacy mentoring program that engaged public schools in the region as well as a school on a Navajo Reservation in New Mexico.
Read, Think, Share is an innovative literacy program that engages college students who read the same book with a middle-school student and share an online conversation about the book through daily blogs between mentor and student. The mentoring program aims to increase a love for reading among students and to increase their reading proficiency and their emotional investment in attending school.
Click here to read the rest of the article.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Big Smiles at Winters Elementary

Children at Winters Elementary in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, enjoy their latest books donation from Reader to Reader.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Who cheers for the reader? How we can help our kids win

Published in the Springfield Republican newspaper:

By David Mazor

Take a look around at the high school basketball game and you'll find plenty of parents, relatives, friends, and teachers cheering on the athletes who devote their time and effort to excellence on the court. It's no mystery why. We understand that people perform better with the strong support of a community. The recognition and approval of our families and friends is a marker of success and a strong driver of achievement.

But when a struggling reader rises to the challenge of finishing a book, who cheers? This is far from a rhetorical question. To the contrary, anyone with a stake in the literacy of the next generation – all of us – should see this as a very practical question.

The young people in middle and high school right now are developing the habits that they will carry with them into adulthood, and learning the values that they will pass along to their own children. When we cheer them on and celebrate their achievement at athletic events, we reinforce the effort, teamwork, and determination they show on the court. Is it any less important that we celebrate academic victories?

The research is pretty stark about why we should not only be cheering but making proficiency in reading a top priority among our school-age population. In Massachusetts alone, generally considered near the top of the list nationally when it comes to education, some 43% of third graders read below proficiency. And if we look at the original eleven gateway cities in Massachusetts, mid-sized cities targeted by the Commonwealth in 2011 around closing the gap in education outcomes, the average rate of third graders reading below proficient in these cities is 63%.

The numbers aren't any better nationally, as the Annie E. Casey Foundation reports that 66% of fourth graders in the United States are reading below proficiency. If there was ever a time for a call to action on reading, the fundamental building block for all learning, it is now.

I've learned that creating a supportive culture of reading is an essential and necessary piece of the solution, and is the reason why I started the public charity Reader to Reader, that at least anecdotally is seeing some encouraging progress.

Since 2002, Reader to Reader has been donating books to the poorest schools and libraries across the nation and around the world. We know that students who grow up lacking reading material face an uphill climb later, when reading becomes essential for high school, SAT and ACT, and college itself. Along the way we learned that, without a culture that supports and values reading, there is only so much the books themselves can do.

In 2007, in an effort to improve circulation in a poor, rural high school library, we tried an intervention that seemed so simple: We asked struggling high school readers to choose books to read, then gave copies of those books to college-age reading mentors. We gave each mentor-mentee pair a secure online space to correspond about the book, and we trained the mentors to be friendly, supportive, and encouraging. The results were compelling. Students loved reading with college mentors, and they formed strong bonds beyond the book discussion itself, often asking questions about college life.

Eight years later, that program is called Read, Think, Share, and it has served thousands of young readers. It was part of the school day for more than 1,000 middle and high school students in 2014. The program has proved replicable, having been used in both rural and urban schools. In addition, its growth and scalability have been a direct consequence of its popularity among college students as a way to be involved in the community.

It became clear to us early on that this seemingly simple intervention offered a sophisticated set of benefits to the struggling reader: a role model for the importance of reading, a mentor for guided discussion, and someone to cheer for them when they finish a book. Actually, it gives a student many people to cheer for them, because Read, Think, Share gets classroom teachers, reading specialists, and administrators involved in the program.

There is no single way to overcome the challenges that students face when it comes to reading. Economic circumstances, language barriers, and individual learning differences may all contribute to a student's struggle to read at grade level. But every striving reader needs a cheer, a pat on the back, someone to tell them they have accomplished something worthwhile, and worth taking pride in.

In the end, we get more of what we reward, so cheer for the hardworking athlete who just won the big game. But remember the hardworking student who just scored a big victory by reading a book, and cheer your heart out. America's future success depends on it.

David Mazor is the founding executive director of Reader to Reader, a 501(c)(3) public charity based in Amherst, Massachusetts that is engaging students, teachers and school districts nationally around literacy. In 2011, he was recognized as a Massachusetts Literacy Champion

Monday, February 23, 2015

St. Michaels Students Take College Discovery Class

Meg Holladay, our hard-working Navajo Outreach Coordinator, is teaching a College Discovery class at St. Michael Indian School in St. Michaels, Arizona. 

Pictured above are students practicing a full-length practice ACT exam Reading section. Test scores have improved dramatically thanks to her work.

The Navajo Outreach Program is funded in part by the Fordham Street Foundation and the Hiatt Family Foundation.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Reader to Reader Founder Interviewed on TV's Connecting Point!

Reader to Reader founder David Mazor was recently interviewed on WGBY-TV's Connecting Point. Click here to see the Video.

Monday, February 9, 2015

A big thank you to author Sarah J. Henry!

A big thank you to author Sarah J. Henry for her donation of a truckload of her terrific young adult novel, “A Cold and Lonely Place.” It was great to visit her in beautiful (and snowy) Newfane, Vermont.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Navajo Pine Students Enjoy Book Donation

Students at Navajo Pine High School in Navajo, New Mexico, enjoy the library’s latest book donation from Reader to Reader.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Books on their way to Kenya

800 books have begun the 7,254 journey from Reader to Reader’s headquarters in Amherst, Massachusetts to Nairobi, Kenya.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Computers and Books Donated to Substance Abuse Center

Reader to Reader is pleased to donate computers and books to support the new Holyoke Recovery Support Center in Holyoke, Massachusetts.

The Center is a warm and safe environment where peers empower folks in any path of recovery, so that they may work to strengthen their recovery in order to become a more productive member of society.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Books and Computers Help Ghana Students Prosper!

We are pleased to report that Reader to Reader's work sending books and computers to Ghana has boosted academic achievement. Here is a note we recently received detailing the progress at Eno Boanimah Memorial Academy in Kasoa, Ghana.

“We want to thank you for the great support that we have gotten from Reader to Reader. We have great news. Eno Boanimah Memorial Academy in Kasoa, Ghana, presented its first set of students to the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) 2014 Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE). The results were outstanding. 100% of the EBMA students passed the examinations. In addition, 5 of the 13 students received distinctions."

Reader to Reader’s book and computer donation programs serve schools, libraries and outreach programs across the United States and in 16 countries.