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Aiona to appear at ‘Read Aloud America’ event (Nov. 5)


Lt Gov. James ‘Duke’ Aiona is scheduled to deliver remarks at the Hookena, Captain Cook program at 5 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 5.

He will speak on the importance of reading to children – in the classroom and at home – on a regular basis to increase their prospects for success in school and life.

Aiona has been involved in the ‘Read Aloud America’ program for the last five years.

“No matter how small or large the school is we want this program to go to every school in the state,” Aiona said.

Read Aloud America’s Read Aloud Program (RAP) at Konawaena Elementary School and Hookena Elementary School continues to grow stronger with hundreds of attendees at each session.

The last sessions in mid-October had an impressive 536 participants join in the fun of reading.

“It’s inspiring to see over 50 community volunteers at each session and how everyone – students, parents, school teachers, volunteers – is uplifted by this program,” said Emily Mendez-Bryant, Read Aloud America’s RAP Big Island Site Coordinator. “The bottom line is that we are making a difference.”

RAP is a free school community event that brings families, schools, businesses, community organizations, and individuals together.  It provides an avenue for anyone to continue or be encouraged to read for fun.

“My kids are excited about reading and that makes me happy,” said Jene Green, parent of a Hookena Elementary School student. “Thank you for making this available for our children with the furloughs. Any extra educational activities is awesome!”

RAP takes place on a school evening – and unfolds by a short introduction by the presenter.  The students are then disbursed in age-level groups to listen to volunteers read stories.

Parents, grandparents, teachers, and caregivers stay in the cafeteria with the presenter and relax as they listen to stories, reading tips, and chapter books.

Book swaps for adults and children encourage attendees to exchange used books.

RAP also provides free snacks, drinks, and dinner and the evening ends with door prizes and a party atmosphere.

RAP began in 1999 and has become the largest family literacy program in America.  Its unique approach to making reading fun for the entire family is one reason for its success.

It has served more than 165,000 attendees and more than 80 programs across the state. This fall brings RAP to South Kona for the first time.

The program can be hosted at any public elementary or middle school for six sessions during one school semester.

Konawaena Elementary School’s next RAP dates fall on Wednesdays – Nov. 4 and Nov. 18.  Hookena Elementary School’s last sessions are scheduled on Thursdays – Nov. 5 and Nov. 19.

Anyone from the schools’ communities is welcome to attend.

For more information, call 756-2348.

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