About Us — History
Reading Assist Institute (RAI) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to teaching the foundational skills of reading to children with significant academic challenges, empowering them to achieve grade-level proficiency. We help struggling readers learn the basic mechanics of reading, and train tutors, parents and teachers in an evidence-based, multisensory, structured approach to literacy education.
The evidence-based training that RAI provides is grounded in our over 25 years of experience working with struggling readers, and informed by the latest advances in cognitive neuroscience and reading research.
Through the years, RAI has helped thousands of struggling readers, establishing a regional and national reputation as a leader in literacy support to students, teachers and parents.
In 1979, motivated by her 12-year old son’s struggles to read, Reading Assist Institute Founder Virginia Biasotto developed a multi-sensory, phonics-based, systematic reading curriculum based on her studies of the Orton-Gillingham methods. Determined that other children would not suffer as her son had, Ginger taught the method to friends and neighbors, many of whom worked with their own children before volunteering to work with students in area schools. Success followed success, and Ginger began training more volunteer tutors.
Today, Reading Assist Institute has thousands of graduates who learned to read through the program Ginger created. RAI community volunteers and members of the RAI Reading Corps work with hundreds of students every year, inside more than a dozen schools, while our private service program offers parents the option of intensive, personalized, after-school tutoring for struggling readers.
Reading Assist Institute is a recognized authority in reading intervention for elementary students. In 2013, as the state legislature debated the specifics of new teacher requirements, the State Board of Education turned to RAI for guidance about what literacy education minimums prospective teachers should meet. The Board of Education used that guidance to help craft the law that governs teacher training in Delaware today.
In 2015, Reading Assist Institute created the RAI Reading Corps, in partnership with the AmeriCorps Delaware and the Colonial School District. For the first time in Reading Assist's history, full-time AmeriCorps members went into schools to provide reading intervention to struggling students, one-to-one, 45 minutes a day, five days a week.