It takes a village

Read-Aloud really exemplifies the old proverb “It takes a village to raise a child.” It engages the entire community: child, volunteer reader, teacher, coordinator, parent and author.

-Volunteer Reader

SMART Program Receives Library of Congress Literary Award

SMART (Start Making A Reader Today), the Oregon statewide early literacy nonprofit organization, was named the recipient of the 2014 Library of Congress Literacy Award. The Read-Aloud Volunteer Program is modeled after SMART.

The Library of Congress honors organizations that have made outstanding contributions to increasing literacy in the United States or abroad. The American Prize is awarded to an organization that has made a significant and measureable contribution to increasing literacy levels or the national awareness of the importance of literacy.

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Read-Aloud students are enthusiastic learners

The Read-Aloud Volunteer Program was a wonderful experience for my kindergartener. The books supplemented our home library and the connection Lucy made with her volunteer reader was a strong one.

We are so pleased to have been able to participate and look forward to giving back some of what the program has given our family. As a teacher, I strongly believe that the importance of reading and fostering a love of books is vital to the creation of life-long readers and enthusiastic learners. Early literacy skills set the groundwork for successful students. I highly recommend this program and am so very grateful to have benefitted from it. Many, many thanks!

 –Parent of a Read-Aloud student

Read-Aloud Students show improvement in student reading skills

Many thanks to David Graeven, a sociologist and social psychologist, for his work on behalf of the Read-Aloud Volunteer Program. David and his team at Trial Behavior Consulting designed a comprehensive Read-Aloud Volunteer Program evaluation in 2013.

Students who participated in the Read-Aloud program in 2012 showed gains and improvement of at least one skill level for all three of the reading areas assessed (makes predictions, questioning, and characters).

Teachers were also asked to assess the effectiveness of the program. Here’s what educators said about their Read-Aloud students after participating in Read-Aloud:

“She has more confidence talking about a book, and is able to summarize and talk about characters.”

“He learned to enjoy reading, his comprehension and vocabulary improved.”

“Finally, she is not afraid of reading, writing, and speaking.”

Cities of Service Grant awarded to Richmond nonprofits

Read-Aloud Volunteer program was one of three nonprofit organizations awarded a Cities of Service grant to harness the power of volunteers to help improve Richmond students’ literacy skills.

Richmond is one of 23 U.S. cities to win a Cities of Service Impact Volunteering Fund grant, which supports mayors who are implementing “impact volunteering” strategies that tackle pressing local challenges.

Richmond’s grant will go towards recruiting and training community volunteers to coach 150 elementary school students to improve their literacy skills.

Read-Aloud will be a strategic partner with Bring Me a Book to improve literacy in Richmond elementary schools.

Bring Me a Book will provide workshops for students and their families to highlight the importance of reading aloud to children.

The City of Richmond will work with the WriterCoach Connection to improve literacy for high school students.

Funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Cities of Service Impact Volunteering Fund is a multi-million dollar fund. Grantee cities were selected based on the quality of initiative proposals, scale and potential for impact, and caliber of implementation plans, among other criteria. Cities of Service Impact Volunteering Fund initiatives address issues in the Cities of Service priority areas of education and youth, health, neighborhood revitalization, preparedness and safety, sustainability, and veterans.


City of Richmond Recognition of Service

Richmond Mayor Gayle McLaughlin, City Manager Bill Lindsay, and Joan Davis, President and CEO of the Richmond Community Foundation, honored the Read-Aloud Program with a 2013 Recognition of Meritorious Service award for education. The City of Richmond celebrated National Volunteer Week, April 21-27. Service awards were presented to volunteers and organizations serving the Richmond community.

Building blocks for success

I have worked with each grade level during my 4 years in the program, and have seen each student’s comprehension and social interaction skills improve considerably.

I am a retired Probation Officer, and know first hand the importance of early intervention programs. If you enjoy working with children and are looking for a positive volunteer experience, this is the place for you.
–volunteer reader