Read Aloud West Virginia hosts summit

Read Aloud West Virginia welcomed representatives from local chapters across the state to a conference at Stonewall Resort on July 21-22.

The Summit was presented by the state Read Aloud organization for the purpose of providing support and encouraging collaboration among local chapters.

“It has long been a goal to bring our chapter leaders together for the purpose of sharing ideas, developing future plans and building program consistency,” said Executive Director Mary Kay Bond. “This meeting is a huge step forward in strengthening our existing network in 23 counties and developing greater program depth.”

The conference kicked off with a presentation by Charlotte Webb, coordinator for Elementary Education in the West Virginia Department of Education’s Office of Early Learning. Ms. Webb spoke about the state of literacy in West Virginia and Department of Education initiatives aimed at addressing the problems we face.

The remainder of the conference addressed best practices for administering the non-profit organization’s programs, which fall into four major categories: Volunteer Readers, Book Distribution, Classroom Enrichment and Parent Education.

The needs of local chapters were assessed by survey prior to the event and were addressed through individual presentations and group discussion.

Attending from Elkins were local chapter leaders Mary Boyd and Carolyn Shepler.

Shepler said, “The conference supported my belief that being read to is an important part of every child’s life.”

Boyd said it was fun to hear what other chapters are doing in other counties and get some good ideas to promote reading aloud to children in Randolph County.

Last year alone, Read Aloud placed more than700 volunteer readers in classrooms in 168 schools across the state. Bond noted that Read Aloud continues to grow and has been contacted recently by individuals interested in bringing the organization to new counties. The program looks forward to continued expansion in the years ahead.