CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- State officials and community volunteers are trying to push a popular literacy program into schools in all of West Virginia's school systems.
Right now, Read Aloud West Virginia, which puts volunteers in schools to regularly read a book to their youngest children, is in 22 West Virginia counties. The program, in conjunction with the West Virginia Lions Club, is now making a push to place volunteers in all 55 counties — and, hopefully, in every elementary school in the state.
Read Aloud was founded in Kanawha County in 1987, and is most active here. Twenty-six schools here participate.
But officials would like to see the program reach more children, and hope to see it spread across the state. Now, Read Aloud has teamed up with the West Virginia Lions Read Action Program, which has a nearly identical premise, to help it grow.
The biggest obstacle is a lack of volunteers: the program relies on community members who are willing to dedicate part of their week, ever week, to traveling to a school and reading to a group of students. There's also a training session required by Read Aloud and the state Department of Education for security purposes.
Duane White, with the Charleston area Lions Club, said the plan to combat that is twofold: spread the word about Read Aloud, hoping the premise will compel people to volunteer, and hold an open training session to register as many new volunteer readers as possible.
"Our objective is to get enough interest to cover kindergarten, first and second grade in all the schools, even the private schools," White said.
A special training session will be held Sept. 7 at the Charleston Civic Center — for more information visit readaloudwest