Read Aloud Newsletter

Mercer County Read Aloud Program

Welcome to Mercer County's Read Aloud program website! If this is yourfirst time hearing about the Read Aloud program, here is how it all began…Back in the 1960s, Jim Trelease, author of the national best seller The Read Aloud Handbook , began reading to his own children as they were growing up. He visited with students in schools to talk about his career which involved writing and art. As he spent time talking to students, he realized that many of them were not read to or spent very little time reading on their own. He discovered research showing that reading aloud to children improves their reading, writing, speaking, listening- and, best of all, their attitudes about reading. Mr. Trelease also found that most parents and teachers were unaware of good children's books. By the late 1970s, Mr. Trelease decided to write a short how-to booklet on reading aloud to children, with half of the book being a list of recommended titles. The Read Aloud movement had begun and by 1985, the U.S. Department of Education's Commission on Reading was calling “reading aloud to children” the single most important activity one could do to raise a reader. Today, Trelease's book is in its sixth edition and is used as a text for future teachers in more than 60 colleges and universities. As they say “the rest is history .”Kanawha County was the first to introduce the Read Aloud program to our state over 20 years ago. In 1995, Mercer County came on board and was chartered by 1996. Our local board meets monthly during the school year at the Mercer County School Board's Office. Currently there are 14 volunteer members serving on our board who over see the local programming :


Rick Druggish
Sharon Dyer
Pat East
Rhonda Rogers
Gail Hill
Robin Ware
Eva McGuire

Rishi Richardson

Barbara Moore Ray
Barbara Pettus
Darrell Thompson
Suzette Sims


Read Aloud's purpose is to support volunteer readers as they spend time sharing their love of books with children in the local classrooms. We also work with local individuals who commit to being a Site Coordinator at each of our participating schools. These Coordinators help to place readers into classrooms and provide support throughout the year. Each year we offer Orientation Sessions to our first time volunteer readers. We give guidance and encouragement to those who have committed to going into classrooms to share their love of books. Every year we host an Author's Month to highlight a children's book author. Our board members put together a booklet of ideas to use during this month for our volunteer readers and school teachers. Last year our children's book author was Bill Peet. We are currently working on this year's Author's Month. Board members are also responsible for raising funds to cover the costs of our activities. We are very grateful to individuals, businesses and local foundations that help fund our program. They enable us to promote reading in the schools, as well as honor our volunteer readers for their time and commitment. Last spring we held our first Children's Favorite Book Art Contest, inviting children to illustrate a picture from a favorite book they have read.Read Aloud strives to help our community and schools see that reading to children is one of the most important things we can do for them. We are always open for suggestions as to how we can better serve Mercer County. If you would like to contact the Mercer County Read Aloud Program you can write to us at:


Mercer County Read Aloud Program

P. O. Box 1264

Princeton, WV 24740

Individuals or groups who are interested in hosting a Read Aloud Orientation Session can contact Barbara Pettus at 425-6024 .“Next to hugging and talking to children, reading aloud is the greatest gift we can give them. Beyond the positive role modeling and physical bonding that takes place, we are stimulating imagination, enriching vocabulary, building listening skills and whetting an appetite for a love of reading.”

- Jim Trelease-



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