Human Services

Read-Aloud Delaware

  • Wilmington, DE
  • www.readalouddelaware.org

Mission Statement

Read Aloud Delaware is the only statewide organization focusing attention on the critical early years of child literacy. We promote reading aloud to preschool children in order to encourage a love of books and a desire to become a reader. We do this because there is a strong relationship between basic skill levels, teen parenthood and poverty. Our mission is to ensure that each preschool child in Delaware is regularly read to one-on-one.

Reading aloud to children helps develop language skills, vocabulary, general knowledge of the world, imagination, problem solving and the desire to learn to read.

Main Programs

  1. Volunteer Reading Program
  2. Parent Reading Program
  3. Care Giver Reading
Service Areas

Self-reported

Delaware

Read Aloud Delaware sends volunteers to kindergarten, Head Start and child care centers throughout the State of Delaware.

ruling year

1987

Executive Director since 1995

Self-reported

Ms. Mary W. Hirschbiel

Keywords

Self-reported

reading, children, youth, education, Delaware, read aloud, children's books, child development, Baby's First Book, volunteers, volunteering

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Also Known As

RAD

EIN

51-0280486

 Number

3015694851

Physical Address

100 West 10th Street, Suite 309

Wilmington, DE 19801

Contact

Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Children's and Youth Services (P30)

Other Youth Development N.E.C. (O99)

Remedial Reading, Reading Encouragement (B92)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Programs + Results

How does this organization make a difference?

Overview

Self-reported by organization

The Volunteer Reading Program delivered by Read Aloud Delaware helps children from low to moderate income households be better prepared to succeed in school. Children who are read to, talked to and sung to from birth are more ready for school success. Chief among the benefits of the Volunteer Reading Program is the exposure to new words, concepts of print, knowledge of colors, letters and numbers and a longer attention span for the children our volunteers read to each week.

All of our parent engagement activities help parents better understand their role in preparing their children for school success and motivate them to read to their children more often. Our mission is to ensure that each preschool child in Delaware is regularly read to one-on-one. Between parents, volunteers and care givers we are seeing more reading take place across the state.

Programs

Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Program 1

Volunteer Reading Program

Volunteers read aloud to one child at a time across the state of Delaware.  In Fiscal Year 2016, the program included:

- 87 childcare centers, Head Start programs, Kindergartens, 2 clinics & 2 prisons.

- 586 volunteer readers

- 5,617 children read to regularly; 1,286 children read to in clinics & shelters.

- 58,085 individual reading sessions in centers; 2,437 sessions in clinics & prisons.

- 12,586 hours of volunteer reading time.

Category

Human Services

Population(s) Served

Infants/Babies (under age 5)

Children Only (5 - 14 years)

Children and Youth (infants - 19 years.)

Budget

218,400

Program 2

Parent Reading Program

Educates parents on the importance of reading to their children.  In Fiscal Year 2016, the Program included:

- Presentations:  Reached 8,075 parents through lectures, workshops, and community fairs.

Category

Education

Population(s) Served

Adults

Children and Youth (infants - 19 years.)

Budget

20,000

Program 3

Care Giver Reading

Provides ideas and education for child care staff.  Fiscal Year 2016 achievements include:

- Annual Conference for 414 preschool and early elementary school teachers and child care providers.

Category

Education

Population(s) Served

Adults

Children and Youth (infants - 19 years.)

Budget

25,976

Charting Impact

Self-reported by organization

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

  1. What is the organization aiming to accomplish?
    Read Aloud Delaware is working to improve school readiness for all children in Delaware with a primary focus on children from low to moderate income families. Research shows that learning begins long before a child enters kindergarten.
    * As early as 18 months, low-income children begin to fall behind their more affluent peers in vocabulary acquisition. Vocabulary development is critical to school readiness.
    * By age 2, children from low-income families are already behind their peers in listening, counting, and other skills essential to literacy.
    * By age 5, a typical middle-class child recognizes 22 letters of the alphabet, compared to 9 letters for a child from a low-income family.
    Read Aloud Delaware's goal is to reach as many of Delaware's children as possible to help develop the “school readiness" skills they may not otherwise achieve.
  2. What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?
    Read Aloud Delaware has three categories of programming to address school readiness:

    *The Volunteer Reading Program which places screened and trained volunteers in child care centers serving primarily low-income children. The volunteers read to one child at a time for 5-15 minutes per child every week. These interactions help children acquire new words, learn about the alphabet, learn how to count and to recognize colors and shapes by name as well as helping the child develop a longer attention span and a general knowledge of the world that will prepare him or her to start kindergarten ready to learn and wanting to learn to read.

    *The Parent Empowerment Program which delivers 3 sessions of critical information to parents to help them become their child's best advocate. The topics are: “Language & Literacy", “Reading Readiness", and “From Scribbling to Writing". Each session provides parents and care givers with ideas, information and materials to work with their child at home. At each session, parents are allowed to pick at least one book for each of their children.

    *In-service education for early childhood educators is the third category of programming. We offer a full-day conference of workshops annually on the second Saturday in March. The keynote address and the variety of workshops, which promote early literacy, are designed to reinvigorate and energize the people who work with our youngest children every day. Our goal is to ensure that each participant to leaves with new ideas and strategies to encourage early literacy that can be implemented in their classrooms the following week and all the weeks to come. In addition to the workshop evaluations on the day of the conference, we follow up about three months later with a short emailed survey to see if participants are using what they learned. In addition to the conference we also offer workshops on the Benefits and Techniques of Reading Aloud.

  3. What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?
    Read Aloud Delaware is very skilled at matching willing volunteers with appropriate volunteer placements, such as reading one-on-one at various sites, presenting Mother Goose nursery rhymes, taking care of our book collections, or helping parents understand the importance of talking to and reading to their children. We are also adept at finding exciting and qualified presenters for our annual day of professional development.

    We have a strong and diverse Board of Directors representing all parts of the state and many different kinds of work experience. In addition, we have the four standing committees: Finance, Development, Program and Marketing all have representatives from around the state. Each of the three Delaware Counties also has a committee to implement our programs and see that we continue to make progress toward our strategic goals.
  4. How will they know if they are making progress?
    Right now, every Volunteer Reader can see that they are having an impact when they notice that the children who could only focus for 3-4 minutes in October are begging for another story after 10-12 minutes by the end of May.

    Volunteer Readers also report that children use many different strategies to make sure that they get a turn to be read to.

    In addition, we conduct assessments every other year on a small sample of the children we serve. These assessments look at book handling skills, print and picture recognition, and comprehension. These assessments have shown that children who are read to consistently for a six month period between October and May, which we call the reading season, show dramatic gains in their ability to point to the front of the book, to know where the volunteer should begin to read, and to describe what the story is about in a full sentence versus a one word answer that they might give in October.
  5. What have and haven't they accomplished so far?
    We have created a reputation for treating our volunteers well and for sending qualified, screened and caring volunteers to the child care centers that need the supplemental support that our Volunteer Reading Program provides.

    We have also created a day-long conference that has loyal patrons who have been coming back for years and still give us positive feedback about their experience. We also have an excellent reputation with workshop presenters for the way they are greeted and helped all day long at our annual conference.

    We have struggled for 30 years to find the best way to reach parents that need to hear our message. We have experimented with lengthy parent schools, with e-mail messaging, with brochures and posters, with parent newsletters, and now with the Parent Empowerment Program. To date, this program seems to have the most effect when supplemented by appearances at community events.

    We have not created an organization which can sustain its operations without substantial support from the State of Delaware. This remains a challenge to our long-term viability. The newest strategic plan just approved in December 2016 includes at least two strategies to address this issue.
Service Areas

Self-reported

Delaware

Read Aloud Delaware sends volunteers to kindergarten, Head Start and child care centers throughout the State of Delaware.

Additional Documents

Social Media

Funding Needs

Read Aloud Delaware has a pressing need to fund more staff. Currently, the Executive Director is serving as the New Castle County Coordinator and the Development Director. If we could add a Major Gifts Officer, we may be able to raise enough money to cover at least a part-time New Castle County Coordinator. In addition, our Sussex County Coordinator, who is running the program with the most growth potential, has only a volunteer to help with administrative tasks; Sussex County needs at least a part-time administrative assistant. We are currently working to redesign our website so that it is more interactive and better able to accept online donations.

External Reviews

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Financials

Financial information is an important part of gauging the short- and long-term health of the organization.

READ-ALOUD DELAWARE INC
Fiscal year: Jul 01-Jun 30
Yes, financials were audited by an independent accountant.

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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

Read-Aloud Delaware

Leadership

NEED MORE INFO ON THIS NONPROFIT?

Free: Gain immediate access to the following:
  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2016, 2015 and 2014
  • Board Chair and Board Members
  • Access to the GuideStar Community
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Executive Director

Ms. Mary W. Hirschbiel

BIO

Ms. Hirschbiel began her career with Read Aloud Delaware in October 1988 as the part-time New Castle County Coordinator. During her tenure as Coordinator, Ms. Hirschbiel trebled the size of the program and the number of volunteers in New Castle County. She invented a system of volunteer site leaders that permitted the Site Leader to serve as a liaison with the Coordinator.

In July 1995, Ms. Hirschbiel became the Executive Director. As Executive Director, Ms. Hirschbiel has encouraged staff members to expand their county programs by utilizing the Site Leader model. Ms. Hirschbiel believes that volunteers can do anything if they are given a clear goal, necessary resources and support. Current programs benefitting from volunteer involvement are the Volunteer Reading Program, the Parent Empowerment Program, and program assessment.

Governance

BOARD CHAIR

Thomas W. Black

Retired corporate treasurer

Term: Oct 2016 - Oct 2017

BOARD LEADERSHIP PRACTICES

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section, which enables organizations and donors to transparently share information about essential board leadership practices. Self-reported by organization

Yes

BOARD ORIENTATION & EDUCATION

Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?

No

CEO OVERSIGHT

Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?

Yes

ETHICS & TRANSPARENCY

Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?

Yes

BOARD COMPOSITION

Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?

No

BOARD PERFORMANCE

Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?