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Read Aloud WV

February 6, 2019 - Amy Phelps
Back this fall, my co-worker wrote about a program in need of volunteers locally, Read Aloud WV. After writing about it, he wanted to volunteer and was asking if any of us also wanted to join. I thought it sounded fun, so I joined him for a workshop and before I knew it, I had my volunteer card and an assigned class and was ready to read! Read Aloud WV originally started in 1986 by a group of concerned parents in Kanawha county. They developed programs to get students interest in books and reading and worked with volunteers in other counties who were interested. Their website says between 1987 and 1992, Read Aloud programs were established in seven of West Virginia’s 55 counties. After a shift to joining with another program, heavy growth with it and then reduced numbers, the group became its own non-profit in 2008. It now runs in 29 counties and in 2013, Read Aloud was named best local non-profit by WV Living magazine, according to its website. The program not only distributes books and educational materials in the schools, it has its program in which we take part - volunteers from the local communities come in at least once a week for 15 minutes to read to interested classrooms. The volunteer is assigned to its classroom for the school year, so there is a chance to form a bond with kids while encouraging a love of reading. I started in early December with my local kindergarteners. Reading to them quickly became the highlight of my week. They are always excited and ready to hear a new story and to request a new topic. So far, we’ve read The Grinch, a unicorn book, several superheroes book, a book about a penguin and a book about a little girl who wanted a unicorn and got a goat instead (the little girl who requested a unicorn book was annoyed that it wasn’t a real unicorn and my daughter said I was mean by tricking her with a stupid goat - she knows I love goats.) This last week was the one I brought in the real unicorn book and a non-fiction book about K9s, another topic I love to read about. I was thrilled when the kids after I read both, requested more about German Shepherds and K9s and wanted to hear the book again! Encouraging a love of reading is fun and something that always brightens my day and I hope does so for the kids too!


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