LAHAINA - More than 400 students, parents, relatives, staff and volunteers recently came together in the Princess Nahi'ena'ena Elementary School cafeteria for the first of four monthly Read Aloud America programs. The programs are dedicated to promoting literacy and helping families bond through the fun of reading and being read to.
These four programs are funded by a State of Hawaii Grant-in-Aid that was endorsed and promoted by Sen. Roz Baker of West Maui.
The first 20 minutes featured trivia questions with Frisbee and mini-football prizes and the introduction of the volunteer readers.
First-grader Simao Donre poses with prizes won at the end of the first Read Aloud America program.
Twenty-three volunteer readers are Lahaina residents who were trained to read aloud to the children in a 40-minute session following the family fun time.
As children went off to classrooms to listen to readers, the adults were entertained and educated by program Director Joanne Laird.
A light dinner of pizza from Prison Street Pizza was served, and grand prize drawings concluded the evening. Principal Lynn Kaho'ohalahala and Liaison Miriam Tamayo drew names for the 12 grand prize winners. With every grand prize came a brand new book.
One parent who attended, Anjanette Naganuma, ex-pressed gratitude for the program.
"Thank you for making reading a family event. Literacy is a community issue. Allowing us to come together with food and fun encourages children and families to view reading as a pleasure," she said.
Three more RAP programs are scheduled at Princess Nahi'ena'ena School. The second program will be held on March 9 and feature guest reader Kathy Collins. The third will be held on April 6 and feature local Lahaina authors Lisa Downey and Elaine Gallant. The final program will be held on May 4.
All families who reside in the Princess Nahi'ena'ena attendance area are invited. For more information, contact Laird at firstname.lastname@example.org.