APU Careers & Learning Online Learning Original

Random Acts of Reading: R.E.A.D. Book Club Commemorates 9/11

By Natascha Gast, Faculty Member, School of Arts, Humanities and Education, and Tonya Babb, R.E.A.D. Book Club President

random acts of reading logo
The Random Acts of Reading logo. Image design courtesy of Tonya Babb.

As a National Day of Service (9/11) project during September 2023, the University’s Reading and Educating at a Distance (R.E.A.D.) Book Club will participate in “Random Acts of Reading.” During this annual event, R.E.A.D. Book Club members participate in three different activities:

  • Acting as “book fairies” and leaving books in random locations with an inspirational note as a surprise for a stranger
  • Adding a book to a local Little Free Library
  • Volunteering for LibriVox by recording a book chapter, short story or poem

Since 2019, R.E.A.D. Book Club members have been a part of all of these activities.

R.E.A.D. Book Club logo
The club’s logo. Image courtesy of Natascha Gast.

As part of Random Acts of Reading, R.E.A.D. Book Club members also vote to choose which library, literacy projects, or books to support financially through Donors Choose and the Smithsonian Adopt-a-Book programs. In past years, the club has funded K-12 classroom libraries and the restoration and preservation of books like The Magic Island and Hunting Monsters.

During Random Acts of Reading last year, the R.E.A.D. Book Club began supporting a member’s Little Free Library. This library is in a “book desert” where books and other reading material were relatively difficult to find, especially for children.

Little Free Library with Heidi Stream
Dedication event for a Little Free Library sponsored by the R.E.A.D. Book Club and hosted by club member Heidi Stream. Image courtesy of Heidi Stream.

Since 2019, Random Acts of Reading volunteers have supported literacy and distributed books more widely to the public. This effort promotes reading and literacy both online and in local schools and communities throughout the world.

You’re Invited to Make an Impact during Random Acts of Reading

This year, Random Acts of Reading is open to everyone for their participation. Where can you leave a book? What might you record for others online? How can you promote reading in your community?

Not only will your participation promote reading, you could win books! Share a link to your LibriVox recording on Goodreads, Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, or share a photo/video if you leave a book in a Little Free Library or anywhere else. To find a Little Free Library in the U.S. or other countries, use Little Free Library’s World Map.

Use the hashtag #APUSReads for a chance to win $25 worth of books from Better World Books. (All AMU/APU students, alumni, faculty, or staff are eligible to win.)

Related: Literature: What’s the Point of Reading and Studying It?

More about the R.E.A.D. Book Club

The goal of the R.E.A.D. Book Club is to provide an open forum for the discussion of literature. The club brings together University students, alumni, faculty, and staff and promotes reading and literacy through community outreach and service projects. The club hosts ongoing book discussions on Goodreads and Facebook as well as a live Zoom book club meeting the last Tuesday of each month at 8 p.m. ET.

R.E.A.D. Book Club has been recognized with several University awards, including:

  • Student Organization Chapter of the Year
  • Outstanding Campus Leader (twice)
  • Chapter Advisor of the Year
  • The Legacy Award for Random Acts of Reading

Are you interested in joining the R.E.A.D. Book Club and helping with events such as Random Acts of Reading? Submit an application today!

Related: Critical Thinking: How to Develop and Enhance Your Skills

About the Authors

Natascha Gast is a full-time English instructor in the School of Arts, Humanities and Education at the University. She has professional experience as a developmental editor of trade publications and has taught literature, composition and business communication courses since 1998. Natascha currently assists in the development of the business writing and American poetry courses at the University and serves as faculty advisor for the R.E.A.D. Book Club. She received her M.A. in English from the University of Connecticut and a B.A. in English and philosophy from Louisiana State University. In 2022, she won a University award for Outstanding Faculty Member of the Year and Undergraduate Excellence in Teaching.

Tonya Babb is an alumna of American Military University. She received an undergraduate degree in English with a concentration in writing in 2018. Tonya has participated in the R.E.A.D. Book Club for the past five years, serving on the officer board for four years, and is the current president of the club. She received the 2023 Outstanding Campus Leader award and is proud to have been a part of the club being awarded the 2023 Outstanding Legacy Project. Tonya currently teaches her three children at home full-time, as well as a class of seventh graders in her local Classical Conversations community. 

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