Yurok Students Book Buddy Connections

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On April 16, 2024, pre-K students from the Yurok Head Start paired with their third-grade book buddies from Margaret Keating Elementary School for their second Book Buddy event of the year. During the event, third grade students read to the preschool book buddies, and all students received 8 free books to take home to enjoy. A previous Book Buddy event was held on March 18th, where 208 books were distributed to participating students – 10 books for each of the 16 pre-K students, and 3 books each for the 16 third grade students. The event has generated a lot of excitement from both students and teachers, and Reading Nation Waterfall is thrilled to know that students are sharing the joy of reading and heading home with more books to continue reading with their families.

Reading Nation Waterfall is grateful to Unite for Literacy for partnering with us to deliver affordable and appropriate books for the young readers in our partner schools. Not only does Unite for Literacy offer books that are being distributed for free to each pre-K and third grade student in our partner Head Start and Elementary school, they also offer free e-books online as well, adding to the waterfall of books for each child. 

Click here to donate a book (or more!) to our partner Tribes, and add to the waterfall yourself – every book counts!

Announcing: Project Sunrise

In collaboration with The National Indian Head Start Directors Association, Unite for Literacy, and Little Free Library Indigenous Library Program, RNW is thrilled to announce The Sunrise Project: Illuminating Paths to Literacy for Native American Communities.

Empowering Tribal Communities: Impact of Reading Nation Waterfall’s Grant Project 2024 Update!

In its inaugural years, the Reading Nation Waterfall (RNW) grant project has made profound strides in uplifting various Native American tribes, fostering literacy, and celebrating cultural richness. 

The Yurok Tribe witnessed a surge in book giveaways for children, with over 200 books disseminated, alongside a vibrant collaboration with the language department, amplifying local artists, and nurturing budding authors. 

Buy a book for a student now from The Yurok Tribe Amazon Wish List!

Santo Domingo Pueblo Tribe flourished through tech tables, strategic partnerships, community-driven library initiatives, and Free Book Fairs, enriching lives through access to over 300 books. 

Buy a book for a student now from the Santo Domingo Pueblo Tribe Amazon Wish List!

The Northern Cheyenne Tribe’s innovative endeavors, from family events like a School Library Book Bingo, a Head Start graduation Book giveaway,  to a tech table and tablets, and a newly acquired IMLS grant for a preservation project called Seeking Immortality. All of this underscores their commitment to cultural heritage and education, distributing a remarkable 736 books. 

Buy a book for a student now from The Northern Cheyenne Tribe Amazon Wish List!
Meanwhile, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians leveraged technology, athletics, and partnerships to disseminate a staggering 6,034 books, promoting literacy as a cornerstone of community development through adding tech tables to the Qualla Boundary Public Library, a successful reading log program at the elementary school, book giveaways, and by adding the Vonne and Shih-Rang Memorial Little Free Library. Buy a book for a student now from the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians Amazon Wish List!

“Dr. Anthony Chow Appointed to the Little Free Library National Board”

Help us congratulate our RNW Project Director and SJSU iSchool Director Dr. Anthony Chow, in his recent appointment to the Little Free Library National Board. In partnership, they secured a $1.4 million grant that aspires to “address barriers to literacy & libraries for Native American children & families in five tribal communities nationally.” The Reading Nation Waterfall project aims to promote this mission with the collaborative and invaluable efforts of our Tribal Partners. You can read more of the SJSU School of Information’s blog here.

Project Director Dr. Anthony Chow stands with a Little Free Library in Northern Cheyenne.

Little Free Library started with one book-sharing box built in 2009 in Wisconsin. Over the years, their global impact has shaped the way we connect literacy to diverse communities. To date, there are over 125,000 Little Free Libraries across 50 U.S. States and 112 countries.

RNW Visits the EBCI

Dr. Anthony Chow and UNCG LIS student Anna Sink visited our partners with the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians in beautiful Cherokee, NC. During their visit they met with our partners Adam Lambert at the Qualla Boundary Tribal Library, Tina Saunooke director of the Qualla Boundary Head Start, and Zena Rattler of the Snowbird Community Library. The Reading Nation team gathered community data through surveys and in-depth interviews with community members.

Several book giveaways were hosted for the children at the Qualla Boundary Head Start and Qualla Boundary Library. From this visit alone over 150 books were distributed to the children in the community.

“Many thanks to Adam Lambert, Chief Snead, Tina Saunooke, Donna Robertson, and all of the wonderful people and members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indian tribe who spent time with us during our site visit. We learned quite a bit about their history, their dreams and aspirations, and the very real barriers they face, especially as it pertains to early children’s literacy. This is why a community assessment is so important before using our grant funding to try and increase literacy and break down barriers.”

Project Director, Dr. Anthony Chow
Photo from Water Rock Knob, Cherokee, NC. Photo by Adam Lambert, Librarian, Qualla Boundary Tribal Library

UNCG LIS student Anna Sink offered these thoughts to share:

“I was very lucky to visit the Qualla Boundary and meet several members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. Everyone was very accommodating, friendly, and eager to talk about their beautiful home. You feel the sense of community and pride as you drive through town, seeing the painted bears, statues, and the Cherokee language adorning signs and buildings. I was fortunate to get to visit with Adam Lambert, head librarian at the Qualla Boundary Public Library and to hear his thoughts about how libraries play such an important role in the community. I enjoyed hearing his take on the needs of the tribe and ideas to make a difference in people’s lives through literacy and libraries. Passing out books to families and hearing their thoughts about the needs of the community was invaluable. What a treat to meet the people and place that we’ve been researching and talking about for so long!”

Reading Nation’s ALA Convention Presentation

Our panel discussion for the ALA annual convention was very well received! Huge thanks to everyone that participated! View the whole presentation:

A huge thank you to all our partners and consultants that participated!

Anthony Chow, Moderator,

Associate Professor, Department of Library and Information Science, UNG Greensboro,Greensboro, North Carolina

Adam Lambert, Library Manager, Qualla Boundary Tribal Library

Karla Clark, School Librarian, Crow Agency Elementary School

Cynthia Aguilar, Director, Santo Domingo Pueblo Tribal Library

Kim Sellers, Program Director Reading Education, UNC Pembroke

Greig Metzger, Executive Director, Little Free Libraries

Lesley J. Farmer, Professor of Library Media, CSULB, Los Alamitos, California

Ada Sanchez, School Librarian, Santo Domingo Pueblo Elementary School

Melissa Casey, Research Assistant and Web Specialist, UNC Greensboro

Traditional Oral Story Telling

A big thanks to our partners with the Lumbee tribe for sharing some of their oral stories with us.

Native American stories are traditionally told by the grandparents to the children. The children then take those stories and pass them down through future generations. Please listen and share with your children as Ms. Gwen Locklear tells us the stories of “How Turtle Few South for the Winter,” “How Possum Got His Tail,” “Rabbit Wishes for Snow,” and “Turtle Races with Beaver.”

Little Free Library at Pembroke Elementary

A peek at one of our Little Free Libraries! This particular box belongs to our partners with the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina and is located at Pembroke Elementary School. Our partners are hard at work getting these books to the children and families in their communities.

If you are interested in donating books to any of our partners please visit our donation page!

177 Books Disseminated by our partners working with the Lumbee Tribe!

Robeson County library director, Katie Fountain, visited Baptist Christian Daycare and Riverwood Pre-Elementary and gave out 112 books to the children. She also donated 65 gently used books for the Reading Nation Waterfall Little Free Libraries! These books are getting out to the children and families. We can not thank our partners enough! Look at all those happy faces!

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