Navajo Nation schools receive 17,000 books

$200,000 in books to be given to students

Joshua Kellogg
Navajo Nation

FARMINGTON – Representatives of a Massachusetts nonprofit organization that donated 17,000 books to four school districts on the Navajo Nation in Arizona and New Mexico hope to improve literacy rates for students.

The Reader to Reader organization donated $200,000 worth of books to the Central Consolidated School District, Gallup-McKinley County Public Schools, the Ganado Unified School District in Ganado, Ariz., and the Hopi School District in Keams Canyon, Ariz.

David Mazor, Reader to Reader executive director, said the group is working to boost academic performance in students by donating resources, including books, computers and e-readers, along with sponsoring literacy and mentoring programs.

“We’ve been working to strengthen the literacy rates to better students,” Mazor said. “It’ll help them do better in college and have better success in their work life when they go for jobs.”

CCSD spokesman James Preminger said the district received three shipping pallets full of books last week and plan to distribute the 3,600 books it received when students return from winter break in January.

“We’re excited to get the books,” Preminger said. “We know that students will be pretty happy to receive them.”

The Gallup-McKinley district received the largest share of the donation with 11,000 books being given to students at each of its 36 schools. The Hopi school district received 1,600 books, and the Ganado school district was given 800 books.

Mary Lindenmeyer, coordinator of assessments, counseling and library media for Gallup-McKinley schools, said the biggest benefit of the donation is being able to give elementary students two books and high school students one book each.

“They are absolutely happy to have books to take home to read,” Lindenmeyer said.

Some of the topics covered by the books include learning the alphabet and identifying animals with pictures for kindergarten and first-grade students, along with adventure novels about knights and dragons and nonfiction books about dinosaurs and fossils.

Joshua Kellogg covers education for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627.