Reading ASSIST Institute Educates Chamber Members

Marilyn Monahan, Kay McFadden, Sally Coonin of Reading ASSIST Institute

Jo Schmeiser CCGM Executive Director

The first 2011 Chamber of Commerce for Greater Milford Power Breakfast wasn’t held at Delaware Hospice, the usual location, however the representatives from the Reading ASSIST Institute provided the usual educational experience expected at a CCGM Power Breakfast.

RAI Executive Director Marilyn Monahan let attendees know that the institute was developed by Virginia Biasotto in Wilmington in 1979, as she was motivated by her 12-year old son’s inability to read.  The program she started is a multi-sensory, phonics-based, systematic, supplemental reading curriculum dedicated to improving the literacy skills of children at risk for reading failure.

In 1989, Reading ASSIST Institute was incorporated into a non-profit 5019 (c)(3) organization, and over the years RAI has successfully taught thousands of children throughout the region to read.  Through public and private support RAI is able to provide volunteer tutoring services free of charge to children individually, or in small groups (2-3), who have been identified by their schools as at-risk students. 

RAI opened in Milford a few years ago, and Board Member Kay McFadden says she went through the free volunteer training, and has been able to help several children learn how to read because of the wonderful programs the organization offers.

Sally Coonin, Director of Development & Public Relations says the RAI offers several programs including free and paid tutoring opportunities.  She says in the past eight years, in response to State needs, RAI has established additional programs that include the Parent Outreach, Professional Development and Tutor Service/School Tutor Service Programs.

Sally says what makes Reading ASSIST Institute unique is that RAI delivers effective, measurable, outcomes-based instruction, they provide a layered approach to literacy, they strive to serve all Delaware students who require intensive reading intervention and they provide the most effective instruction through ongoing professional development and research.

If you would be interested in helping a struggling reader, you can provide support by either volunteering your time, or making a monetary donation.  Marilyn, Sally and Kay say without the support of RAI volunteers and contributions the program would not be such a success.

For more information about RAI, contact Sally at, call 1.888.311.1156, visit their website at or find them on facebook.

For more about the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Milford Power Breakfasts or anything else at the chamber call 422.3344, email, check out the website; or find the chamber on facebook.