Resolve to Read

Demand is growing. We have more than 400 classrooms across West Virginia who want a Read Aloud reader but don’t yet have one. Can you, your workplace or your organization help us meet that demand to motivate children to WANT to read?

Parents and teachers are making the connection that research shows: Children who read for fun tend to read more, and with that practice, they grow more proficient. This affordable, achievable daily habit pays off throughout school and life.

So, our job as adults is to create that thriving environment for children, where we turn to a book for fun, entertainment, even comfort. One way Read Aloud West Virginia helps children to catch this habit is by modeling reading for fun each week. Read Aloud sends volunteer readers into more than 1,400 classrooms  each week to share their love of a good story.

We’re happy to report that demand is growing. We have more than 400 teachers who want one of our readers but don’t yet have one. So here’s the pitch:

1. If you are currently reading in one class and your schedule could handle a second, please let us know. There might be a classroom down the hall that would love to have you.  It could be that for the same preparation, you could have double the impact.

2. If you’re enjoying reading, consider recommending Read Aloud to a friend or colleague. Have them send us their contact details, and we will notify them of the next orientation.

3. Consider arranging an orientation. If you can gather 10 or more people at your workplace, church group, book club, college or other organization, we will come to you. After an informative, motivating orientation, we are often able to match readers with classrooms on the spot.

Our volunteer readers go out to do good and help others, but they regularly come back with stories about making connections that they never dreamed of.

In January, we want to fill those vacancies. We want to help those teachers help their students find the right book that opens new worlds for them. Will you Resolve to Read with us? Give us a call at 304-345-5212 or email us .

Happy New Year

BAM! stores in WV to donate 10 percent of sales to Read Aloud on Oct. 27

At all Books-a-Million stores in West Virginia on Oct. 27, tell the cashier you want to support Read Aloud West Virginia, and the store will donate 10 percent of the purchase amount to help Read Aloud put books on the minds and in the hands of West Virginia children.

Stores in Barboursville, Beckley, Bluefield, Bridgeport, Martinsburg, Morgantown, Charleston, Vienna and Wheeling are participating in Books-a-Million’s Bookfair Program with Read Aloud for the third time. In Charleston, both stores at Dudley Farms Plaza on Corridor G and in the Charleston Town Center mall are participating.

Read Aloud volunteers will be in stores on Saturday, Oct. 27, 2018 to answer questions, share information and sign up volunteers.

Continue reading “BAM! stores in WV to donate 10 percent of sales to Read Aloud on Oct. 27”

Read Aloud can offer WV NIP tax credits! Get ‘em while they last

Read Aloud West Virginia can once again offer West Virginia Neighborhood Investment Program (NIP) tax credits to qualifying donors. The benefit reduces a donor’s state personal income tax bill or corporate net income tax bill by as much as half of the gift amount.

Donations of at least $500 qualify for the NIP credit and help us pursue our mission to motivate children across the state to want to read. With your help, we are changing the literacy climate in West Virginia.

Donations made by Dec. 31, 2018 can qualify for credits to apply to taxes due in 2019, but credits are limited and offered for as long as they are available.

The tax credit may be applied in one year, or during the next five years. Individuals are limited to receiving no more than $100,000 in NIP credits in a single year.

Proposed changes in federal tax policy could reduce the effect of the state credit on federal taxes related to donations made after Aug. 27, 2018, but state rules are unchanged.

Donors may give online, or make checks payable to Read Aloud West Virginia and send them to Read Aloud West Virginia, P.O. Box 1784, Charleston WV 25326.

For more information about NIP tax credits or anything else, please call Read Aloud at (304) 345-5212, or email Executive Director Mary Kay Bond at Thank you.

BB&T West Virginia Foundation helps put books in children’s hands

The BB&T West Virginia Foundation has awarded Read Aloud a $2,500 grant to support book distribution programs throughout the state. BB&T has provided similar financial support for several years, and the organization is grateful for the role they continue to play in helping Read Aloud maintain and expand its book distribution programs.

Sixty-one percent of low-income families do not have children’s books in the home, according to the Campaign for Grade Level Reading. Research has found that access to books is a critical factor in educational achievement. It is such a key element that researcher and California State University professor Jeff McQuillan concluded that “the only behavior measure that correlates significantly with reading scores is the number of books in the home.”

Read Aloud West Virginia offers comprehensive, research-based programming designed to engage families, provide consistent “commercials” for reading in the classroom and increase student access to print. Distribution of books and other high-interest reading materials through events that engage children and families is integral to our efforts. Projects vary from county to county based on availability of funds and resources. Programs offered include:

Reading Round Up

Working in conjunction with public schools, volunteers distribute books, magazines and educational materials to students and parents participating in spring Kindergarten and Pre-kindergarten Round-ups (enrollment fairs attended by a majority of students entering kindergarten). Children choose their books from a selection of titles chosen for their age group.

Snuggle and Read

Preschool students and their families are invited to a program where they receive a blanket and books of their choice. A short presentation provides information about the importance of reading aloud to children and a parent’s role in education. Children hear a story read by a Read Aloud volunteer and educational materials are provided to families.

Summer Reading Initiative

This program provides six books to each student at a designated elementary school at the end of the school year. Ideally, the program is offered to students for a minimum of three years to maximize efficacy, as the effects of summer learning loss are cumulative. Children choose the books they receive from a list of titles selected by experts in the field of children’s literacy and an end-of-year event is held to distribute the books.

Distribution by Request

Read Aloud sponsors general distribution of new and used books as funding and availability permit. It is important to distribute books in a way that is meaningful to students and involves families in the process. All schools enrolled in Read Aloud are eligible to request books through this program. Schools often request books for distribution at family fun nights and other school-sponsored events.

BB&T West Virginia Foundation has been an indispensable partner to Read Aloud West Virginia’s Book Distribution Program. Since 2008, Read Aloud has grown to serve 30 county chapters. That growth brings additional opportunities to place books in the hands and homes of children. With BB&T West Virginia Foundation’s support, the organization can provide more children the tools they need to succeed in school and life.

BUZZ: New Read Aloud video a call to action

By Sara Busse

Although one goal of Read Aloud is to limit screen time, a new video produced by West Virginia State University’s Extension Service is creating a buzz about reading aloud across West Virginia.

Lynn Kessler, director of communications and development for RAWV, said the group needed a tool to spread its message. A conversation with West Virginia State University extension agent and Summers County Read Aloud coordinator Stacy Ford at the Read Aloud summer conference led to a collaboration between RAWV and WVSU.

“Matt Browning and Megan Sheets in West Virginia State University’s communications and media departments took it and ran. They were such an incredible help to us in creating a tool that we could not have created without them,” Kessler explained.

Browning and Sheets, both graduates of WVSU and self-proclaimed “total book nerds,” described the video as a call to action to recruit volunteer readers.

Browning and Sheets filmed readers in Summers and Kanawha county, as well as “b-roll” footage featuring extension agents in the library and reading to children. The video was an in-kind donation to Read Aloud, and Sheets said it’s the first time they were able to branch out and do work for another entity besides the University.

The video also features an interview with Read Aloud Executive Director Mary Kay Bond.

“She came to our studio on campus, and she’s like a brochure for Read Aloud in person,” Sheets said, laughing. “She was great.”

Browning said the readers and children were very comfortable in front of the camera because they were engrossed in the reading.

“There was one gentleman, he was an absolute hoot!” he said. “The reader had so much fun with those kids, and they were having so much fun, it made it easy.”

Illustrator to Visit Summers County July 11

‘John Henry’ illustrator to visit Summers County

TALCOTT, W.Va., June 15, 2015 — Illustrator Peter Thornton will visit West Virginia to bring the tale of John Henry to life once more at John Henry Days in Summers County.

A reading of “A Natural Man, the True Story of John Henry” is set to follow the grand parade on July 11 in Talcott.

Thornton worked with narrator Steve Sanfield to create this retelling of the story of West Virginia’s steel-driving man. Learn more and buy the book here

For more information about Thornton and his art and illustrations, visit him on Facebook.

John Henry Days celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. The three day festival begins with live music on Friday, July 10 and runs through Sunday, July 12, 2015. See the full schedule here.