About us

The Alliance for Literacy is a group of students, teachers, schools, libraries, local organizations and businesses from New Mexico working together to get kids hooked on books. The Alliance for Literacy has a student led literacy program called Hooked on Books. The student steering committee for Hooked on Books is called Youth United and is composed of students from many different schools in Santa Fe.


Thousands of students have participated in this 3 year old program. Each summer, students who are identified as being one or more years behind in reading, attend our reading camp and make one year's worth of reading progress in just two weeks.


Our mission: To create incentives that get kids hooked on reading and to get the whole community supporting literacy.


There are 5 components to this program.

  1. Hooked on Books Community Service: Each Friday, middle school volunteers from Santa Fe School for the Arts & Sciences work for two hours to support various aspects of the Hooked on Books program. The students sort and label all donated books, restock our free bookshelves, hand out contest flyers and prizes, lead the contest award ceremonies, trade in adult books for children's books at local bookstores and take care of our Prison Book project.


  2. Literacy Contests: At least twice a year, Hooked on Books sponsors literacy contests that are created, designed and judged by Youth United volunteers. These contests are created to get kids to enthusiastically engage in their own learning. We offer student-designed competitions and prizes that get children excited about reading (Kindles, ipods, bikes, laptops, meeting celebrities, etc...) Thousands of students have participated in these contests during its first two years including students from local pueblos and the school for the deaf.


  3. Bookshelves: Free-access bookshelves have been placed in prominent locations where low- income families wait with their children for long periods of time and where there is a great need for books. The 14 bookshelves are currently located at:
    • Urgent Care – Rodeo Rd.
    • Special Education Parent Meeting Room- Santa Fe Public Schools
    • Arroyo Chamiso Pediatric Clinic
    • St. Vincent's Emergency Room
    • SF County Health - Women, Infants & Children
    • CYFD Waiting Room (5th street)
    • Camino Entrada Pediatric Clinic
    • Income Support Division
    • Southside DMV
    • W. Alameda Community Center
    • Genoveva Chavez Community Center
    • Youth Shelters & Family Services
    • Santa Fe Community Housing Trust's two low-income housing projects, Village Sage and Stage Coach.


  4. Reading Remediation: Hooked on Books provides specialized tutoring for students with reading challenges in two ways:
    1. Afterschool Tutoring: Volunteer middle and high school students work with elementary school children who need help with reading and homework once a week from 3:30-5:00 at SFSAS.
    2. Summer "Reading is Magic" Camp: Students with serious reading difficulties (at least 1-2 years behind) are referred by teachers for a free two week summer reading intensive staffed by expert teachers and teens. Pre-and post standardized reading assessments are used to assess growth in reading. Each student made an average of one year's growth during the two weeks of camp.


  5. Prison Project: Hooked on Books community service students collect and deliver special picture books for the CD Book Gift project (incarcerated parents read and record a book onto a CD and the CD and the book is given to their child). They also collect and deliver fiction paperback books to the prison for their adult library


Awards and News
Here is a link to a 6 minute video a student made about Hooked on Books: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DgVrRvU0XFI


Hooked on Books/Youth United received the National Peace Jam “Global Call to Action” youth challenge award in 2012 when the students were honored by Nobel Peace Laureate Leymah Gbowee. (http://www.abqjournal.com/142458/north/bookshelves-lead-to-nobel-winner.html) The Pearson Foundation produced a short 5 minute video about this award, Leymah and Youth United: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DWooYb7MfyU


This year, the students had the privilege of hosting a visit by Nobel Laureate Betty Williams who is also a big supporter of our work. (http://www.abqjournal.com/142660/north/hooked-on-books-sets-an-example.html)


Hooked on Books has appeared on Eye on Mexico and presented a TEDx talk in Albuquerque. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eq7Q3I0CnSk)


We have won numerous local awards and presented the keynote speech at the Expeditionary Learning National Conference in 2013. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VoN6lJy2pVw)


Numerous articles about our program and other short films can be seen on our website, www.nmallianceforliteracy.org