What We Do

Frank Haas

Read To Me International promotes reading aloud to children through:

  • Parent coaching programs at Hawai‘i’s schools, community sites, and correctional facilities
  • Presentations and workshops for parents, educators and other interested groups
  • Read alouds at schools and community gatherings
  • National-quality annual conferences
  • Support for parents of young children living in transitional and affordable housing

Our Mission

Share the love and joy of reading aloud.

Goals

  • Ensure that every child is read to every day for at least 10 minutes.
  • Model good read aloud techniques.
  • Promote reading aloud to a broader audience of stakeholders.

History

Read To Me International Foundation dba Read To Me International is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization incorporated in March 1996 as a result of a partnership created by the Governor’s Council for Literacy and Lifelong Learning and the Rotary Club of Honolulu Sunrise. The Governor’s Council comprised leading members from the business, labor, education, faith-based and community sectors. From 1992-1994 the Council and Rotary embarked on a successful multi-media campaign called “Read To Me,” which resulted in a statewide campaign underscoring the importance of reading aloud. Its message was simple: “Every child in Hawaii will be read to every day for ten minutes.”

As a result of the media efforts, inspired in large part by the teachings of Jim Trelease, author of The Read-Aloud Handbook, a round table was formed which facilitated and promoted reading activities statewide, including the production of a video establishing the why’s and how-to’s of reading aloud; the establishment of read-aloud programs in schools and businesses; presentations in schools, churches, and local communities; refurbishment of libraries; and book donations to schools, organizations, and libraries. Through the support of various partners, with Hawaii Pizza Hut serving as a major sponsor, a number of activities and projects were undertaken.

The program proved to be successful, the multi-media campaign having been adopted in over a dozen states, plus Canada and Malaysia. Since Read To Me International’s inception, the organization has evolved to focus on equipping and coaching parents to be their children’s first teachers in life through reading aloud together. The organization serves an average of 7,500 people each year through its parent-coaching programs, annual national-quality conference, workshops, and community events.

Programs

Read To Me International serves Hawaii’s communities with the greatest needs. Since 2014, Read To Me International has launched the following parent-coaching programs and events to further engage families to read aloud together. The simple act of reading aloud together daily supports children’s academic, social, and emotional growth and helps families to bond through read-aloud interactions.

Haku Mo‘olelo (To “Compose Stories”): A parent-coaching program designed for residents of the Women’s Community Correctional Center (WCCC). Participants write, illustrate, and record their own children’s storybooks, which are sent home to their children along with the audio recording.

Read, Revive, Restore: A parent-coaching program for residents of State community correctional facilities to read and audio-record age-appropriate books for their children. Incarcerated parents record reading aloud a child’s storybook and send both the book and audio recording to their children.

Readers Rallies: A program for formerly homeless families living at Kahauiki Village, an affordable plantation-style community. All residents are invited to quarterly readers rallies, which combine read aloud activities with musical entertainment.

RTM10 (“Read To Me 10 Minutes A Day”): A weekly comprehensive parent-coaching program offered to families in Kalihi, Nānākuli, Wahiawā, and Wai‘anae. Coaches provide parents with reading strategies and resources to practice in class, then apply it with their children at home and school.

RTM10 Alumni Programs: RTM10 program participants and their families engage in programming addressing their children’s academic, social, and emotional needs and social opportunities for children to play and learn together.

  • Read To Me International Parent Coaching Program, RTM10

Founder

Lynne Waihee

President

Lynne Waihee

As a youngster, Lynne Waihee found magic in her otherwise mundane life through the world of princesses and princes, fairy tales and fables. In real life, Read To Me International President Lynne Waihee has led a charmed life as a former First Lady of Hawai‘i, during which time she served as the Honorary Chair for the Governor’s Council for Literacy. A former high school English teacher, literacy was a perfect fit for her role as First Lady, and Waihee has now championed childhood literacy’s cause for over 23 years. She recalls with fondness reading in bed to her own children, John IV and Jennifer, and anxiously awaits the day she has grandchildren to whom she can read. Meanwhile, she finds great joy in reading aloud to anyone’s children, and to adults as well . . . including husband John.

Staff

Executive Director

Dannah Barnes

Dannah Barnes is a 2018 MBA graduate from the University of Mānoa Shidler College of Business. Her career experience in the non-profit and for-profit sectors includes program implementation, fundraising and events, human resources, operations, and marketing. As a child some of Dannahʻs early memories of reading included her parents reading to her and her sister. Another fond memory is of Dannahʻs aunty, an elementary school teacher, who would take her and her sister to the library to borrow books. After reading a book, they would conclude it by submitting a book report. Dannah credits her career success to her family for sharing the joy of reading at an early age. She is excited to join the Read To Me International team and pay it forward by sharing the joy of reading aloud.

Program and Community Outreach Director

Nicki Brown

Nicki Brown has a long standing career in the non-profit sector servicing the Waiʻanae community in various capacities. Community programs that focused on early childhood education held great significance on her journey as a new mother. It led her to experience the power of Read To Me International’s RTM10 program firsthand as a participant. Seeing the excitement on her child’s face after implementing the different techniques taught by Read To Me International was transformative for their relationship with books and with one another. Reading has always been a passion of Brown’s growing up with Laotian as her first language. It helped her to learn and love the English language. In her current role with Read To Me International, her hopes are to spread that same love for literacy to everyone in the state of Hawaiʻi by reading aloud. She believes that reading is great, but getting people to engage in reading aloud together is when the love strengthens.

Program and Site Assistant

Lauren Remular

Growing up, Lauren was able to discover her passion for music, singing, reading and writing. Raised in Waipahū and a graduate of Sacred Hearts Academy, Lauren had the importance of education instilled in her at a very young age. She is currently a senior at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa majoring in Human Development and Family Studies, where she is embarking on her journey to prepare herself for a career that will always encourage growth, embracing your passions, and being able to help those in her community. She has always had a positive and loving relationship with reading because it was something that her parents did with her everyday. Some of her favorite memories of her childhood include going to the library every chance she had and finding new books whenever the Scholastic Book Fair came around during the school year. She is excited to be interning with Read To Me International, where she hopes to connect with her community while finding some new favorite books to add to her library that she can read to her nieces, nephews and keiki in the future.

Board of Directors

Board Officers

  • Board Chair

    Wenona Harris

    Senior Partner, Anthology

  • Vice Chair

    David Lee

    Client Manager, World Wide Technology

  • Secretary

    Jaydence Goya

    MDU Program Manager, Hawaiian Telcom

  • Treasurer

    Marissa Machida

    Vice President & Relationship Manager, Bank of Hawai‘i

Other Members

  • Jean Grice

    DoDEA Pacific PACOM Liaison, Department of Defense Education Activity

  • David Lee

    Client Manager, World Wide Technology

  • June Nakamura

    Senior Project Manager, Kaula AE, LLC

  • Ted I. Sakai

    Ted I. Sakai and Associates

  • Mollie Sperry

    Secretary-General, The National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the Hawaiian Islands

  • Hale Takazawa

    Architect

  • Jo Anne Vieira

    Community Volunteer

  • Lynne Waihee

    Founder, Read to Me International

  • Susan Kam Yokoyama

    Vice President & Public Relations Manager, First Hawaiian Bank