Bringing Books to Underserved Native American Students

Reader to Reader
Arizona, New Mexico, Minnesota

How Reader to Reader and SBF Help Students Reach for Greater Success

Since its inception in 2002, Reader to Reader—a non-profit dedicated to delivering books free of charge to the nation’s poorest communities—has expended immense effort to get books into the hands of underserved students across the U.S., including Native American reservations, inner cities, and poor rural towns.
In Native American communities, living conditions are especially dire. As a result, educational achievement has been chronically sub-par due to the lack of public school-equivalent educational resources.
So in recent years, Reader to Reader has been focusing fiercely on students and school libraries on tribal lands. In 2016 alone, the non-profit distributed more than 200,000 books across the nation, more than 50,000 of which went to native students.
Two years ago, Scholastic Book Fairs joined forces with Reader to Reader to get books into more home libraries of chronically-neglected student populations. To date, Scholastic Book Fairs has donated 65,000+ books to Reader to Reader through the Scholastic Possible Fund and All for Books programs.
Reader to Reader’s corporate relationship with Scholastic has allowed it to expand its reach within the Hopi reservation (Arizona), Navajo Nation (Arizona/New Mexico), Red Lake Nation (Minnesota), and San Carlos Apache reservation (Arizona).
In just the past three years, more than 44,000 Scholastic-donated books have reached students attending school at Gallup-McKinley County Public Schools (Gallup, NM), Central Consolidated Schools (Shiprock, NM), the Hopi School District (Keams Canyon, AZ) and the Tuba City Unified School District (Tuba City, AZ), all of which primarily serve Native American students.
Although the primary beneficiaries of free book distributions are individual students, the program also adds titles to classrooms and libraries at underfunded schools, shelters, and community centers.

David Mazor, Executive Director of Reader to Reader, says “Most of the students who receive books through the program own very few (if any) books that they can call their own. Many have rarely, or never, even owned a book. Brand new books—ones they get to choose—give them pride of ownership, which further enhances their love of reading.” Then he adds, ““Scholastic is a wonderful partner. Their generosity and commitment to bringing the joy of reading to low-income students is second to none.” 

Asked about outcomes, a library staffer at Gallup-McKinley reported, “The program’s impact on students has been profound and I know it will be lasting. The gift of books helps so many underserved students, helping them build their home libraries with books they love, which encourages their life-long love of reading and learning.”
An educator in Chicopee, Massachusetts, exclaimed, “As an English teacher, this program is an absolute joy!”