(FIRST PHOTO) Read Aloud America held its final session at Kihei Elementary School on April 3 with more than 450 students, parents, volunteers and school officials in attendance. Every child went home with a book that night and some with grand prizes, such as an ukulele. Ian Inzano, a 2nd-grader, won the ukulele and is shown about to receive his prize from program director Joanne Laird while getting a high-five from presenter Tim Shim.
(SECOND PHOTO) Mikela DeAguiar, a 1st-grader, has a question during the evening, which included free pizza for everyone. Read Aloud America promotes literacy, families and communities through the fun of reading and being read to. Laird said the program has held 22 programs in almost every public school on Maui and Molokai since 2007 and touched 53,292 students, parents, caregivers, teachers and volunteers. At each school program, there are six sessions held every other week in a three-month period. Children must attend with an adult and go to read-aloud sessions with volunteer readers while parents receive parenting tips about reading to their children. These have been challenging times for the Read Aloud America program, which lost a federal grant and a state contract. The loss of the state contract meant the statewide program lost 95 percent of its funding, said Laird, who has been seeking other funding. She said Whole Foods has been a strong supporter of the program.
KRYSTLE MARCELLUS photos
Ian Inzano, a 2nd-grader, won the ukulele and is shown about to receive his prize from program director Joanne Laird while getting a high-five from presenter Tim Shim.
KRYSTLE MARCELLUS photo