Readers, we want to hear from you!

The end of the school year is a bittersweet time for Read Aloud volunteers. Your dedication and commitment to read to a classroom of children every week has likely yielded dividends, from conversations with students who are excited about reading to big smiles and hugs in the classroom. You might even have received handmade cards from students saying how important you were to the class, recalling favorite stories, and asking you to continue reading next year.

Readers might be sad to say goodbye or ready for a well-deserved hiatus (or perhaps some combination of these). Meanwhile, Read Aloud West Virginia staff is already looking to and preparing for August. That’s why Read Aloud asks volunteer readers to accomplish one more task by completing an end-of-year reader survey.

These quick surveys ask about your experience as a Read Aloud volunteer and your plans for the following school year. When Read Aloud school coordinators return to school in the fall, the state Read Aloud office provides a report that helps coordinators place returning readers into classrooms as soon as possible, as well as identify how many new readers each school needs.

If Read Aloud West Virginia has a valid email address for you, the survey should have arrived in your inbox around the beginning of June. Paper copies will be mailed to those with no email address on record. If you were an active volunteer reader during the 2017-2018 school year and you do not receive a survey by email or mail, please contact Marsha Hoyer at (304) 345-5212 or email

Thank you, readers, for the gift you have given to more than 33,000 children in West Virginia this school year!


Read Aloud reader survey results

By Lesley McCullough McCallister

At the conclusion of each school year, Read Aloud West Virginia distributes a volunteer reader survey soliciting feedback regarding their Read Aloud placement and experience. This year, Read Aloud created an electronic version which allowed volunteers to complete their survey quickly and easily online, in addition to the few paper copies that were still provided to those volunteers who do not have an email address.

While the national average response rate for email surveys is about 25 percent, Read Aloud was delighted to receive feedback from 57 percent of volunteer readers.

“We are extremely grateful to hear directly from our volunteers about the good things they experienced, as well as areas of the program that can be improved,” said Read Aloud Executive Director Mary Kay Bond. “These valuable responses help us gauge strengths and weaknesses of our program either at the state, chapter or school level.”

The collected Read Aloud feedback is shared with chapter leadership in each county, and in turn helps themprepare for the upcoming school year. In some cases, chapter boards will reach out directly to readers who were involved but failed to respond to the survey.

Some of the most important information collected in the volunteer reader survey concerns each individual reader’s plans for the upcoming school year and if they wish to return to their previous placement.

Once a school principal submits their Read Aloud enrollment form and identifies the school coordinator, Read Aloud sends the placement data to the school coordinator so that returning readers can be placed early in the new school year.

Based on this year’s survey results, 63 percent of volunteer readers plan to return to their previous placement and continue to read to the same grade and classroom during the upcoming school year. While 28 percent requested to continue reading but change their current placement, Bond explained this is usually due to the desire to follow a particular child or grandchild to the next grade level.

The electronic survey also provided volunteer readers a quick and easy way to update their contact information, which is then shared with the local chapter leadership. The last open-ended questions on the survey asked for general comments and book suggestions. Read Aloud was delighted to receive numerous book suggestions by grade level and plans to add the compiled list to the suggested titles already listed on the Read Aloud website. This is a valuable resource for both parents and new readers who are looking for  suggestions that have worked for other readers in the past.

Visit for reader recommended book titles.

Read Aloud is grateful for the dedication of its volunteer readers and chapter leadership and is gearing up for another successful school year as they try to help raise a new generation of readers in West Virginia.

Lesley McCullough McCallister is a Read Aloud supporter, volunteer reader, newsletter contributor and a  freelance journalist.