Rotary Club of Lahaina Sunset members Joanne and Larry Laird, Co-Directors of Read Aloud America, are making a difference in Maui schools.  
 
The Lairds lead the literacy program, which is dedicated to helping families bond through the fun of reading and being read to. During the past 17 years, it has served over 339,00 adults and children at 90 public schools in Hawai`i. On Maui, the program is run in Hana and in Lahaina, at Princess Nahienaena School. 
 
During the evening program children are divided into age groups and are escorted to a classroom for a 40-minute read aloud session. All books for the read aloud sessions are provided by the program. Volunteer readers receive training and a handbook during a 60-minute training session prior to the start of the program.
 
Joanne stresses the importance of volunteers for the program, “Volunteer readers are the heart of the RAP program. Children immediately bond with a volunteer reader because there is no pressure for the children to perform. Children just sit back and listen to great stories -- no tests, no book reports, no questions in a read aloud session. It is a positive experience for children and the volunteer reader!”
 
Volunteer reader Barbara Lum Lee agrees, “Even after a full day of work, you’re not tired when you’re done. You’re energized!  I feel like I’m doing something good because reading is the key to everything.”
 
The Lairds are currently seeking volunteer readers for the 2017 program in Lahaina. Dates of the program are February 9, March 9, April 6 and May 4.  A volunteer can sign up for all or any of the dates of the programs.  Volunteer readers are needed from 5:45-7:15 p.m. A free, light dinner is served--no need to cook on RAP nights! The only qualifications are: love of reading, interest in children, patience, and you must be 16 years or older. 
 
If you would like to experience the joy and satisfaction of sharing wonderful stories with children go to this link complete the volunteer registration form:  http://www.readaloudamerica.org/volunteer_reg.htm
 
You will be contacted by Read Aloud America upon completion of the form.  
 
 
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