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What is Read Aloud America?

Founded in Hawaii in 1995 by Jed Gaines, Read Aloud America is a nonprofit 501(C)3 organization that promotes literacy, encourages a love of reading in adults and children, and increases children's prospects for success in school and life.

RAP is an innovative family program that brings parents and children together for six sessions during one school semester and motivates them to read. The program is conducted at host schools which provide meeting space, volunteers, and logistical support. The host schools pay a small fee with smaller grants and contributions from local businesses and individual supporters.

Between 1999 and May 2019, Jed and the hundreds of volunteers of Read Aloud America have read to audiences totaling over 354,000 participants at 95 public schools on four Hawai`ian islands. Read Aloud America's RAP program is the largest and most effective family literacy program in America!

What are Read Aloud presentations?

Jed Gaines and his select team conduct Read Aloud America presentations at public and private schools and various community functions. The presentations, open to all, are designed to motivate individuals to read and read aloud to children - in the classroom and at home -  on a regular basis. The school presentation package offers interactive classroom time with teachers and their students.



Presenter Tim Shim, Maui RAP

What is RAP: The Read Aloud Program?

This unique family evening literacy program draws parents and children together for a number of sessions during a school semester. It's goals are to reach families and stimulate their interest in reading, decrease the use of screen devices, increase family time spent in reading activities, and connect the values of good books to everyday life. Families who participate in RAP receive customized parenting tips in the form of a Family Reading Handbook. Every child receives a free book at each session. A light dinner is served to all participants who attend. 

How does RAP support families?

The 1985 Commission on Reading's report, Becoming a Nation of Readers, concluded, "The single most important activity for building the knowledge required for eventual success in reading is reading aloud to children." RAP provides reading experiences for adults and children and suggests how to read aloud and select appropriate books. Adults and older student volunteers serve as readers and positive role models. Through purposeful, nurturing interactions, RAP builds reading confidence in children and adults.

Why do these programs work?

1. Children and adults experience the joy of reading for pleasure, often for the first time, and read more on their own. Reading with RAP volunteers builds self-confidence and motivates program participants to spend more time with books.

2. Parents learn the importance of reading with their children to help them become better readers.

3. Children learn that books are exciting and stories relate to everyday life.

4. Volunteers enjoy meaningful, rewarding experiences and have the satisfaction of knowing they are making a positive impact on children's lives.

5. Teachers have new resources to help their students become more interested in reading and receptive to learning.

6. Companies who support Read Aloud America strengthen their customer base and enrich their local communities.

How can I help?

Read Aloud America relies on contributions of time and money from individuals, companies, and foundations. To find out how you can get involved, or how your organization can help, please call (808) 531-1985 or E-mail us:

We need your help, and we need your help to continue carrying the Read Aloud America message
to Hawaii's families.   We are grateful for donations of any size.  Thank you for your support.


RAA Board of Directors:

Jed Gaines, Founder and President
Larry Laird, Vice President

Kirk Hovious
Natalie Mun-Takata

James Harstad

RAA Support:

Larry L. Myers, Legal Counsel
Ryan Richards, Webmaster



RAA Staff:

Founder, CEO and Marketing:

Director of Programs and Curriculum: Joanne Laird

Director of Operations and Grants: Larry Laird



E-mail us:

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