Read Aloud America heading to Hana

Joanne and Larry Laird, co-program directors of Read Aloud America, will bring the popular program to the Hana community beginning next month.

The nonprofit organization is dedicated to promoting literacy and helping families bond through the fun of reading and being read to. During the past 10 years, it has served 300,000 adults and children at more than 80 public schools in Hawaii.

Each evening of the six-session program will begin with unstructured family time. “Then, the fun begins,” Joanne explains. “For 20 minutes, the presenter is doing trivia questions, throwing out Frisbees and mini-footballs and getting the kids excited.”

After that, she says, the kids will be divided into groups by age level and escorted to classrooms where volunteers will read to them.

Parents will stay behind for a discussion about the importance of family bonding time and a reading from a book, often by a Hawaii author.

The program is open to the entire Hana community and will be held the following evenings in the Hana School cafeteria: Sept. 5 and 19, Oct. 3 and 16, and Nov. 7 and 14. A special surprise celebrity guest reader will be at the Sept. 19 program, according to a news release.

The time of the program is 5:30 to 8 p.m., and snacks and dinner will be provided. There also will be prizes for the children.

There is no charge to attend a Read Aloud America program. It is sponsored by a state of Hawaii grant and businesses such as Mokulele Airlines, Savers and Maui Golf and Sports Park that provide prizes.

For more information about Read Aloud America, see