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In2Books (ePals Foundation)

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Adult & Child Matching Programs, Children & Youth, Education, Literacy, Primary & Elementary Schools, Remedial Reading & Encouragement

Mission: To help all children become curious, independent learners and receive the support they need to realize their full academic and personal potential. Children who can not read proficiently by the end of the 3rd grade are are more likely to drop out of school and face diminished life prospects. Students in low income neighborhoods are at the greatest disadvantage in developing these skills. In2Books was founded in 1998 to help students during this critical period by providing innovative curricula, professional development, and engaging business and civic community members as adult mentors.

Target demographics: 3rd-6th grade Title I elementary school classrooms

Community Stories

170 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Laura71

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered with the In2books organizaton for 2 years now; it is a wonderful way to instill the love of reading with a child. It may be a small contribution, but hopefully I have connected with them in such a way that they will want to read more and more. I look forward to seeing I have a message from my student and I hear they look forward to getting my messages, too. I think this is a wonderful program and I hope it continues to be an adjunct to classrooms across the country.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

In2Books is amazing! Each year, I'm partnered with a student in a low resource school. Throughout the school year we read the same books and write e-mails to each other about the content. It's quick; it's easy; and I can do it from any computer at any time, day or night! The best part is getting to know the student and knowing that I am impacting that student's learning and letting him or her know that I care. I've participated for 3 years and am eagerly awaiting the start of the new school year!

Volunteer

Rating: 2

I volunteered as an "e pen pal" for two years, and I'm not sure it made any real contribution. It seems like an interesting idea in theory, but in practice, it doesn't get beyond a superficial level of impact and in both years, I had delays and disruptions. As a teacher, I understand how priorities change and this would fall lower than many other objectives, so I'm not faulting anyone. I just don't think it is particularly useful.

Sara40

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As an avid reader, I was thrilled to learn from a friend, of this organization. I also have problems with being able to drive places, so this fit me to a tea! I use my computer a lot. Put all these things together and it was a match made in heaven. I was matched with my first student, and was tentative at first, but the kids are so easy to "talk" to and come back with such great questions, comments, and ideas. I've been surprised to learn that although I'm reading books for young children, I find something in them I didn't know, I'm sure to tell them that so they can see it's never too late to learn something new. I have been doing this for three years now, and every summer look forward to starting up again. Each new child is a new adventure. I can see progress in my child's writing as the year progresses. They make me feel good when they write to say, "anyone would be lucky to have you for a pen pal!" That means you made a difference!

Volunteer

Rating: 4

This program pairs a volunteer with a student. You are connected only through email. You and the student share information about family, hobbies, interests, etc. in an opening letter. The website (In2Books) provides guidance about what to write in your letters and templates for letters. This sharing of informaiton is continued throughout the entire program. Once you have gotten to know the student, the student then selects a book to read. The book is available from many sources and I get my copy from the local library. After reading the book, an email about the book is sent to the student. The exchange of emails about the book continues until the next book is selected. This year was slightly different as the last reading was a magazine rather than a book. I think this was a great idea. It introduced the student to new published media and provided a wider variety of subjects. I shall continue to be a part of this program and enjoy connectng with a student even thourgh it is for a short period of time.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I joined In2Books when my employer aligned with them a few years ago and have stayed on. I am an avid reader and found that books made great friends on lonely days during school. Books provide learning, adventure, discussion topics/shared interests and can ignite new passions. I believe that all children should have the opportunity to learn to love reading as much as I do. I realize some children struggle with reading (my husband had a learning disability and still has difficulty reading). I want to help as many children as I can to have the same wonderful experiences I have had with books. I'm proud to be a part of In2Books!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered for In2Books for approximately 3 years now. In that time, I have been paired with four different children across the country. We read the same books and then write e-mails back and forth discussing the books. It is great practice for the kids in writing and reading comprehension. I have been paired with a variety of ages in elementary school. It is a lot of fun to correspond with the children and read the books with them.

Laura70

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I have been volunteering with I2B for three years now. It has been an easy way to connect with schoolchildren and promote the gift of literacy. I honestly feel like I have made a difference in the lives of these children, and without having met a single one.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have worked with in2Books for two years now. Both times I have thoroughly enjoyed communicating back and forth with a student not only talking about the books that they have read, but also learning about them and their families. As a child I constantly communicated by letters with Pen Pals from around the world and to this day remember that. This is a great opportunity for these children to use what they learn.

Margaret12

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have participated as a volunteer for in2books for two years now and look forward to again. I enjoy the fact I just need to purchase 5 childrens books over the course of a school year and my time. I have plenty of time to give. I also like learning about the student I've been paired with through the letters we write eachother.

Dorena M.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I have been a volunteer with Epals for 3 years now and I love it. It's rewarding what the program offers to young students. I enjoy the beginning of school year, every year, to see who my student will be and what we will be reading for the school year. It's warming to see them grow as a reader and a writer throughout the year.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Each year I have done In2books I realize I get more from the students letters than I thought. Knowing that I have the chance to encourage reading in a child is a dream. The program is easy to do and the site is great with all the tips and add ons. What could be easier! as the kids say" In2books rocks!".

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have participated in In2Books as both a teacher and as a volunteer pen pal. It means so much to my students to have an adult pen pal volunteerd to read books with them and then take the time for letters discussing the books. The fact that these students get the books for free and get to keep them just astounds them. I have seen my students reading skills and letter writing skills improve significantly. As a pen pal, I enjoy the opportunity to pass along my love of reading to my student pen pals. This program is amazing!

Nicole31

Volunteer

Rating: 3

Well I was looking for ways my aunt with cancer could volunteer and help out in the community. I found this mentor-ship program. I joined because I thought it might give me a good excuse to read children books and not feel silly. I have been on the program now for 4 years and I have read a lot of interesting books. But the thing I love the most is when the kids write back, they make you feel like they have been sitting there waiting to write back to you.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a retired teacher who worked with at-risk youth, I know how important reading and writing skills are to a student. Reading opens up the world and can help to open up their minds as well. It can change pen pals lives forever as they begin to understand the benefits of reading. Writing is a wonderful way to express thoughts and feelings. For young people, it is extremely important for them to find an outlet for themselves. We have all seen teens and even younger people take out their frustrations on themselves or others. Lastly I think, the importance of having an adult write a letter to them can help to develop better self-esteem as an important relationship and bonding develops between the student and adult pen pal. In2Books is an excellent program, and I have enjoyed the opportunity to continue working with students in, what I believe to be an important program.

Mary91

Volunteer

Rating: 5

in2Books is a great experience for sharing reading with a child. I have enjoyed it immensely, and having a penpal, is very special. It takes so little time to do, and apparently makes a big difference in the life of the student. We hear that they are very excited to open their letters, and to converse about the books we have read together.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I wanted to volunteer. I was in grad school and needed something that I could do on my own time--- In2Books is perfect for that! I feel so excited when students' writing improves through each letter. I am learning about new, exciting books to add to my classroom, and I am helping a student with technology. All from the comfort of my own home. In2Books is a great resource for my friends who are busy too!

Linda96

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been an in2books volunteer for three years and can't really remember how I learned about it. Maybe through an AARP magazine. I have been matched up with two girls and one boy student. The kids are so enthusiastic and happy to have a penpal. I have seen very advanced English skills and it's clear that my penpals have put a lot of thought into their letters to me. One student did disappear before the end of our school year together but the next two were with me to the end of the year. I had one penpal who went to school yearround and that was a learning experience for me. One had ancestors from Africa and cousins in England. He was interested in my ancestry. And hoped he'd get a penpal who drove a sports car. I laughed at that as I am retired and drive a convertible. He thought that was ok. I have enjoyed the books I've read and have learned from the experience. Writing my letters keeps my English skills sharpened as I really have to think as I wrte. I enjoy matching artwork with the paragraphs and hope that the kids appreciate my efforts I like seeing how they decorate their letters to me, also. It's exciting to have an e-mail telling me I have a letter. Helping kids enjoy books is a real treat and I recommend this program to anyone who wants to help kids. It takes very little time, a tiny amount of money and the reward is large.

Volunteer

Rating: 3

I enjoyed being a volunteer for this program. I enjoyed sending and receiving emails from my student, Xin. I wish would could have had more interaction. I enjoyed hearing from Xin and how school was going. I think this is a great program because it helps kids become better acquainted with using computers and enhances their vocabulary from the letters that are sent. Last year was my first year volunteering, and if I chose to volunteer again, there are things I would improve on, like telling my penpal something new to research in each letter.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

In to books is great for the students- they have an opporutnity to discuss books with adults. Many students do not have adults who care and question the books they are reading. (Outside of school)

Sherry F.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a volunteer for epals for four years. Each year I am matched with a different child and get to read the books that he or she chooses. I don't know where the student lives or what type of experiences they will bring to their emails. I must say that I am never disappointed to share their comments and perspectives on the books they have read.Let me share an experience that I had this past year with my student. She wrote that she loves horses and dogs, wouldn't you know I had just rescued an abandoned dog and she was so helpful to find me information, asked her Grandmother who raises dogs and share it with me. I then asked permission to send photos with her teacher and had a resounding yes. We had begun a relationship equal values and sheer joy. I am always disappointed that I am unable to write to my epals for years to come. I don't know who anticipates the correspondence more the students or myself.

Betty S.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Imagine having an email pen pal who will read the same book you are reading and have an email talk about it with you! I have been an email pen pal for In2Books for the last three years and have shared books with students from all over the United States and from different elementary grades. My job is to pose questions and get them to respond to the books we have both read. This format is more authentic than the "book report" because the discussion about the book, the author's style, and the knowledge gained from reading continues beyond one email. The support from epals makes the writing of responses easy and even helps with graphics and visual appeal for the letters that students receive. This volunteer opportunity is great for someone with a busy day schedule because you can respond to your student's letters 24/7.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

In2Books Organization has provided an excellent forum to connect with students in the classroom throughout the country. The ability to be able to "read along" with students and help them with comprehension skills is great. I have been working with them as an volunteer/reading mentor for students for two years and hope to continue to support them for many more!

Andrew26

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This charity allows for the connection between two penpals, one youth and one older. They discuss who they are as people what they like to do developing a sense of trust and understanding that will help the overall mission of this great organization. The mission of this group is to help young people gain more knowledge of reading and its components through writing about the literature they read to their penpals who ask them challenging and interesting questions to understand their comprehension of the story. In the end both the child and the penpal learn something about the books they read, who they are and challenge themselves in the process.

Jessica59

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I have volunteered with in2books for 2 years. It's fun to read the same books that the students are and to ask questions and get feedback. You also get to interact with the student's teacher. You get a chance to be a small part of the student's life when they get to share with you. Also, the books you'll be reading can help you learn things that you probably didn't know. My experience, with in2books, is that these books are books that I probably wouldn't have read. It doesn't take much time at all to read the books and to "write" a letter to ask questions.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've been an e-mentor and pen pal with In2Books since 2002 or 2003. It started off with emailing letters back and forth with their portal and receiving scanned handwritten letters from children. The progress that In2Books has made over the past 10 years or so to keep up with technology and engage kids in reading AND technology is awesome. They've made significant investments in the portal and tips/training that they provide volunteer pen pals. I've written to many children over the years and you can definitely see progress as each month goes by. The kids begin to trust you and become more inquisitive about you as a 'real' person they're corresponding with about books. They are learning to read, write, thinking thoughtfully, and use a computer to communicate. It's really a great program and takes as little as one hour every month- you can't beat that! type of impact! I've recruited family members to be pen pals and they've enjoyed their experience as much as I have.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a volunteer for this charity for five years. It encourages children to read. The children pick a particular book and you read it along with them Then you share with them what you liked or did not like about the book and why. It is nice to be able to correspond with the children to share thoughts about the book. Sometimes the children are very insightful about some stuff.

Mary90

Volunteer

Rating: 4

IN2Books is a great way to make a difference in the life of a child. No matter how busy you are it is a volunteer job that you can do at your own pace and in your own home. It is also a very rewarding job. I love opening my email and finding I have a message from my ePal. Reading is so important in the life of a child and to help influence a child's love of reading is wonderful. I highly recommend IN2Books to anyone wanting to encourage a child to read.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I joined In2Books as a pen pal in 2000. It seemed like a great idea and a much needed effort. It was a perfect fit for me since I was traveling over 50% at that time and wasn't able to volunteer in person. In2Books has definitely exceeded my expectations. They match adult pen pals with students all over the country with varying reading levels. I've enjoyed seeing the progress over each school year with critical thinking skills, reading and writing levels. The program includes guides and sample questions for each book so the pen pals are not left on their own at any time. The teachers often write to say how they plan to include the books in their lesson plans and what a difference a letter from a pen pal makes. They even make it easy to get the books - buy on-line or find at your local library!

Myra M.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I started volunteering with In2Books a few years ago as a pen pal for student readers. It has been absolutely amazing to see students so motivated to read books and write letters about them, and I love being able to help make that difference in a child's life. I have worked with four different students, and each experience has been an absolute blessing. I will continue to volunteer with In2Books into the distant future.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been with them for three year and I love them. I have had such incredible experiences and I feel that I have made multiple kids very happy and they learnd so much as a result. I love IN2BOOKS!!!!!

Elaine G.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered with In2Books for the past 3 years and plan to volunteer again this coming school year. I love the connection with the student, I love reading the books and then sharing with them, via email, about the book, asking them questions and then reading their responses about what they enjoyed about the book, the message, the illustrations etc. It has been very rewarding to watch the student's progress over the year and to share some part in that. The time is well, well worth it!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a In2Books volunteer for 3 years now. I first learned about this opportunity through our volunteer efforts at work. I personally find great joy in seeing the engagement and effort of these students grow with every book we read and review together! I cannot say enough about this program and the wonderful work they do!! I have recomended this volunteer activity to all of my staff to join as well.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

Great volunteer opportunity for those that want to help virtually and make an impact in the life of a child!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Each year I am matched with one or more elementary grade students. We become "epals", both read the same book, and then have an email discussion about the book. We are coached a bit on what questions to ask so we develop their critical thinking skills. But we also share information about ourseoves. It is a fabulous experience! We don't know much about each other, except what we write to each other. Amazing that a 68 year old grandmother becomes friends with a 4th grader. It is SO rewarding to watch the student's writing progress over the course of the year, and 4 or 5 books. It is also critically important to have a supportive supervising teacher--I am so impressed with what they do for their students.