Our Annual Fund update: Why we ask

As we near the end of the year, Read Aloud West Virginia is grateful to the many donors, friends and volunteers who support our efforts that motivate children to want to read. We cannot do it without you.

Our Annual Fund drive continues. We are trying to reach goals for next year’s work. If you have not given and are considering, please know:

1. Read Aloud has Neighborhood Investment Program tax credits available. Those credits can be used any time over the next five years, starting with the donation year. They lower a West Virginia personal income tax bill or a corporate net income tax bill by as much as half the gift amount starting with donations of at least $500. Donors may receive no more than $100,000 a year in NIP credits, and credits cannot be used to reduced a tax bill by more than half. That means a $10,000 donation would cut a tax bill by $5,000. A $500 donation would reduce a tax bill by $250.

2. What we are doing is working. First, Read Aloud focuses on motivating children to want to read, not fussing at them to read.

The way we do it, reading is fun, and research shows that kids who read for fun read more and gain skill. Second, we focus on putting books into children’s hands because research shows that access to books and living in a text-rich environment counters some of the disadvantages many West Virginia children face. Third, we focus on coaxing, cajoling and cheering parents and reminding them of the tremendous influence they have when they read to the children in their lives. Finally, we focus on helping teachers by loaning enriching materials to use in their classrooms.

3. Others are taking notice. The West Virginia Reading Association has chosen a 2019 conference theme that reflects Read Aloud’s mission of motivation. In one school in Raleigh County, we received some amazing news this fall. After the first year of a special book giveaway intended to counter the typical loss of reading skill over summer vacation, students returned to school in the fall and had actually gained proficiency compared to the previous year. They gained reading skill. Over the summer. That’s just one school, one year.

This is why we ask. With the help of our volunteers and donors, sustained effort day after day is  changing the literacy climate of West Virginia.

If you want to help, you may send a good, old-fashioned check to Read Aloud West Virginia, P.O. Box 1784, Charleston, WV 25326-1784. Or for convenience, we can take online payments. If you have questions, feel free to call 304-345-5212, or email stateoffice@readaloudwestvirginia.org.

Thank you. Happy holidays, and keep reading to the children in your life.