Read Aloud America event in Hana draws large crowd

More than 350 parents, students, staff and community members recently participated in the first-ever Read Aloud America program at Hana School.

Presenter and Program Director Joanne Laird revved up the crowd with trivia questions, awarding correct responses with mini-Read Aloud America program footballs and Frisbees.

Students were escorted out of the cafeteria by age level and led to classrooms to be read aloud to by trained high school students who served as volunteer readers.

“This is the first time volunteer readers have been trained high school students and the dynamic of older kids reading to the younger ones is powerful, ” said Assistant Program Director Larry Laird.

Parents and caregivers remained in the cafeteria with Joanne Laird to hear about tips of reading aloud to their children and to encourage the parents to limit television and screen devices during the weekday evenings. Parents were then treated to a read-aloud session.

A light dinner was served and grand prizes were awarded at the end of the evening to lucky students, adults and volunteers.

“I have never seen so many people in this cafeteria in the nine years I have been principal at Hana,” Principal Rick Paul told the Lairds. “This is amazing.”

Grammy Award-winner George Kahumoku, Jr. will be guest reader at the Read Aloud America program from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Sept. 19 at Hana School. Joanne Laird said he will read aloud from his book “A Hawai’ian Life”.

For more information, contact Joanne Laird at