“There are many little ways to enlarge your child’s world. Love of books is the best of all.”

-Jacqueline Kennedy

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In Service Training

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Some of our wonderful local partners Turn the Page KC and Kansas City Public Schools are hosting an in-service training next week.  You’re welcome and encouraged to attend the training!  If you plan to attend please RSVP.

“Read to, Read with, Read by” 

An in-service learning opportunity for

Volunteers who read with young students 

November 11, 2014

3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

presentation by

Krista Calvert, Ed.D.

Co-author of the Turn the Page KC

 Volunteer Training Manual: Guide for Volunteer Reading Tutors

 

Manual Career Technical Center
1215 East Truman Road, Kansas City, MO 64106

 

 RSVP: [email protected] or 816-418-7652

Categories: Blog

Leadership from Burns and McDonnell

imageIts always about leadership.  Two leaders who work at Burns and McDonnell, Doug Dietrich and Tom Anderson took the first step, engaging with some hungry readers in KC’s urban core with Lead to Read KC last school year.
Tom Anderson heard about Lead to Read at his church and he started reading at the Academy for Integrated Arts (AFIA).   Dietrich learned about Lead to Read while traveling from Boise Idaho to Kansas City on an airplane.  His destiny was to sit down beside Jean Rundle, founder of the program. The rest is history.   After getting the scoop from Jean he joined Tom at AFIA in the spring of 2013.

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Their leadership paved the way for  this year’s  volunteers from Burns and McDonnell  to take on Lead to Read in a big way.  Sept 11,  over 60 potential readers heard the Lead to Read story  at Burns and McDonnell HQ in KC. Over 50 READERS will join the team and start reading at Boone Elementary in early October, 2013.  Thanks to Tom and Doug for leading the way.

ME Pearson Rocks

 

mrs rauer and me pearson readers

I feel so lucky as a classroom teacher to have the Lead to Read readers come to our classroom.  It is so important for my students to know that there are adults in their community who are willing to take their time to come read with them.  The students get excited when they know its Wednesday and their readers are coming in.  While the readers are in the classroom, I love to sit and watch my students and am always amazed at how they interact so easily with each other.  I truly believe it has helped my students to develop their love of reading, which is the main goal I talked about with the volunteers at the beginning of the year.  The readers are very supportive with the students individual reading levels and are very aware of how to handle the student needs as they are reading.  Again, it is a wonderful program and the only thing negative is that we don’t have enough of them to go around to other classrooms!  A million thank you’s Lead to Read readers 🙂

S. Rauer-4th Grade Teacher
M.E. Pearson Elementary School, Kansas City Kansas

Categories: Uncategorized

2013 Press Release

sarah director of operations

In 2011 Sarah Gaikwad joined the start-up Lead to Read KC team as Volunteer Coordinator.  Her energy and passion for Lead to Read  continued to grow as she helped launch the first full year of the program.  In 2012, Gaikwad took on the role of Program Coordinator and this summer was promoted to Director of Operations, succeeding Jean Rundle, Founder of the program in this role. 

“We are so excited that Sarah is expanding her leadership role at Lead to Read,” says Rundle. “She’s been a huge part of building Lead to Read, and is now growing partnerships with businesses and churches that provide volunteers and at the same time building relationships with teachers and administrators,” Rundle added.    

Gaikwad took on the new role this summer and is busy putting the final touches on the fall 2013 Lead to Read schedule.  “I love working with the Lead to Read family,” says Gaikwad.  “We are expanding both in volunteers and children reached this school year, transforming KC one Reader at a time,” she added.  

                 Sarah and her husband Jon are also new parents in 2013 and we look forward to seeing Ms. Natalie Gaikwad ( our newest volunteer) growing into her new role. 😉  Congratulations to Sarah and her growing family. 

                 With the growth of Lead to Read, and with Jean Rundle taking a step back in the day to day operations of the program, Lead to Read is proud to announce that Maryann Hughes has joined the team as the Site Coordinator.  Hughes is a veteran Lead to Read volunteer Reader (Wendell Phillips EMS) and is an experienced volunteer in many schools in Kansas City’s urban core. 

 

maryann huges joins lead to read

“We were so excited that Maryann wanted to play a bigger role with Lead to Read, says Rundle. “With the program growing and the new schools coming on we really needed someone with Maryann’s experience and knowledge of the way Lead to Read works to step into a leadership role, she added. 

Hughes will be working closely with principals, teachers, and volunteer READERS at each of the sites planned for the 2013-14 school year and has been reaching out to all past READERS, helping them make plans for where they will be reading this school year.  

 Welcome to team Maryann… we’re so glad you’re here.  😉

Categories: Press Release

A Readers story

Lead to Read: “we must hope for everything”

When I read to at-risk children they rewarded my availability with a priceless gift.

by:  Dr. Liam Atchison

 

 Margaret Fuller (1810-1850) was considered to be the most well-read person in New England, and she was the first woman allowed to use the library at Harvard. As a pioneer in the women’s movement she certainly deserves our attention, but just as fascinating to me are all those books. She read them in an era when codices were expensive, hard to obtain, and from an entertainment and educational perspective were the ‘only game in town,’ if you will. Despite her larger-than-life reputation regarding the reading of books, Fuller never lost sight of the importance of reading for the greater community. It was she who said with simple eloquence, “Today a reader; tomorrow a leader.”

  

I am not sure if Fuller was the first to observe the association between reading and leading, but I am sure that this connection is almost universally accepted today. That’s the idea that is the engine that moves Lead to Read, a program of adult volunteers helping at-risk elementary school children in Kansas City. This enlightened program was started by Lynn and Jean Rundle, friends of mine who brainstormed and prayed about how to make a difference in their community by helping kids develop valuable tools that might serve them well in the frequent chaos of their social milieu. That sounded good to me, so I volunteered and was assigned to two fourth graders, Erin and Miguel,* in a school with a predominately Hispanic student enrollment.

We began by reading Madeleine L’Engle’s  A Wrinkle in Time. I was surprised immediately by their evident passion for reading, a fervor I pray neither they nor I will ever lose. Erin was adept at understanding the author’s thesis and the connection of parts of the story to the larger plot. Miguel distinguished himself as a rapid reader, swiftly moving through the text while correctly pronouncing even the words he had never before encountered. He did this despite the fact that English is but the second language in his home. My job was to listen to their reading and offer whatever I could to help their comprehension and expand their vocabulary without snuffing out their passion, let alone stoke its fire.

Each day I came I found that they had read ahead at home, and actually helped me understand what was going on in the lives of the characters–and in his and her own world. We sailed through L’Engle and on toDiary of a Wimpy Kid. Once in a while they asked me to read. Erin told me she liked to hear the sound of my voice. I was never sure if she asked me to read because she was comforted by a man’s voice, but at least the act of being read to brought comfort. I noticed that she asked me this whenever she wasn’t feeling well, like the two times she was nauseated from the virus that was being passed around in her house or the time she was on the verge of tears because the landlord had discovered they were keeping a puppy and threatened eviction if they did not get rid of the dog. When she asked me to read the week after the dog had gone to the pound, she laid her head on the desk and seemed to be fighting tears, though she was so brave and strong I was sure she would never admit to the internal struggle. Before our time was up she asked to read again (“We read to know we’re not alone,” wrote C. S. Lewis.).

During these times Miguel was uniformly steady and prepared to read. Like a person who prefers the rye chips in the party mix, he relished selecting his favorite parts of the story and laughed a little as he related his reason for liking these bits. He also opened his door a small crack, allowing me to glimpse his perspective on his parents’ struggle to survive in a new country. I treasured these vivid pictures, painted with Miguel’s guileless brush. I envied the closeness and joy he felt in being an important part of his large extended family, who worked together, cried together, and showed singular genius in their ability to celebrate in one another’s company.

I enjoyed the books as well, and I found myself captured by the music of their carefully measured cadences and incipient efforts at mature expression. They absorbed the story so well I often felt I was the one being entertained. My self-consciousness was effaced and I was wrapped in the joy of a well-spun tale. As one who is startled awake when he realizes he is falling asleep, I sometimes shivered when I found myself so caught up in the story as they read that I forgot I was supposed to be providing analysis. On balance I felt I was getting more out of this “volunteering” than they were.

The last Spring day I read to Erin and Miguel we joined their teacher, classmates, and other volunteers in a celebration of the semester complete with exchanged gifts (Books! What else?) and sugary snacks. I was able to utter a few public words of encouragement to Erin and Miguel that were barely heard above the din of a classroom full of children relishing frosted cupcakes. Each of my young readers expressed appreciation after their teacher reminded them of its importance, and they sweetly shook my hand as they thanked me and wished me a good summer. I congratulated them on their excellent reading but uppermost in my mind was the thought that I would miss them next week.

It seems naive folly to imagine that education can cure the ills of our pluralistic societal experiment. History affords too many examples of well-educated wretches and evildoers. I lack the buoyancy of a giant like Margaret Fuller. Thus I am unable to predict whether the self-confidence gained through reading will help Erin and Miguel make better decisions when they are faced with the choice between right and wrong that will define their life’s course, let alone lead. But I do know–and hope they are aware of this–that they have a new friend in their corner who believes something better for them and is cheering for them. When they lose their source of comfort or when the passion wanes, I hope that they will remember me as a small but functioning part of their cloud of witnesses. I pray that they will make a connection from our briefly shared time of this likely faded realization: when someone glimpsed something of promise in them, it is because the promise is there indeed. Who knows? That might just prove to be enough.

Reading exposed me to more erudite voices than my own. I can still recall Erin’s voice as she read a relevant passage from Madeline L’Engle’s book: “Nothing is hopeless; we must hope for everything.”

I will keep reading.

(*Not their real names)

 

–Liam Atchison, Ph.D., from his weblog, All Books are Neighbors.

Categories: Uncategorized

Why Lead to Read?

 

Why Lead to Read?

We started Lead to Read because we believe the single most important issue facing Kansas City is that an alarming number of children are growing up in this city without the ability to read. The graduation rates at our local inner city high schools reflect this reality. The percentage of students who drop out of high school between the 9th and 10th grade reflect this reality. The challenges facing the neighborhoods across the city as a result of crimes committed by teenagers reflect this reality.

 

The reality is, if you are in the 9th grade, but can’t read at the 9th grade level, but are stuck at a 3rd or 4th grade reading level, you can’t advance to get that valuable high school degree, the ticket to meaningful employment and/or vocational training or a college degree.

 

What will change the game for Kansas City? Increasing the number of students who actually make it through high school and have an opportunity to become contributors. That’s a fact. With a massive engagement in Lead to Read from the community… we can change the game. Please join us in reading at a local elementary school near you.

 

Gratefully:

 

Lynn and Jean Rundle

 

 

 

Business Adopts Lead to Read – by Jeff Oddo

In April of 2011 I invited Lynn and Jean Rundle to speak to City Wide Maintenance staff about the Lead to Read program, which was just completing its trial year. The first year trials had shown test score improvements in participating students, and the program was actively recruiting volunteers to participate for the next school year.

City Wide decided as a company to participate in Lead to Read because of its focus on service to our community – City Wide has operated in Kansas City for over 50 years – and its focus on creating future leaders. City Wide’s mission statement focuses on service to others: to our clients, our service providers, and our communities, as a means of encouraging strong business relationships.

Our company provided all the readers for one classroom for the 2011 school year. Our group of readers was drawn from all levels of the organization – administration to sales to executive level. Ten readers made the commitment to read every week.

Coordination and recruitment within our organization was relatively simple: many traveling employees and managers served as substitutes for regular readers. In this way, we were able to make sure the students saw the same pool of faces every week – indeed, many of our substitutes became as well-known as our regular readers.

After seeing strong results in test score improvement and positive feedback within the company, we have extended our participation into a second year, in the same classroom. Many of the readers are working with their second group of students, trading notes on reading styles and stories, and actively recruiting friends and colleagues to participate.

City Wide encourages a culture of entrepreneurship and leadership in all of our business relationships: the idea that an individual, with hard work, perseverance and strong community support, can build an enduring legacy business that gives back. That’s what my father did in 1961 when he founded City Wide.

Lead to Read helps students find the skills they need to become tomorrow’s business leaders. By exposing students to invaluable life-skills by example, and by showing students they are worthy of the volunteer’s time, the Lead to Read program builds confidence and social ability, and City Wide Maintenance is proud to give it our continuing support.

 

Reading Is Truly Fundamental by David Williams

With this being my 3rd year of participating in Lead to Read, I can’t help but smile thinking of the smiling young faces as we walk into the classrooms each week. But I also think about how the children’s reading abilities progress from the beginning of the school year to the end of the school year. I also think about some of the unfortunate stories, and the harsh realities of so many of the children’s home lives. Having grown up myself in the inner city of Kansas City Kansas, I thought I would easily be able to relate to their external environments. I found nothing was further from the truth. It seems that far too many children come from not broken, but shattered, homes. I listened to the story of the child that said he had to go to bed each night around 7:30 p.m., just so he had a spot on the bed. He said there would be up to 8 other children who had to sleep in that same room. He said if you were lucky you slept on the twin bed; if not, you slept on the floor. Another child said he virtually slept each night at a different home, depending on the day of the week.

Now don’t get me wrong, not all of their stories are so depressing, but again, far too many are. So as I sit here and look back on all those faces, the one thing that comes to mind is that all any of them want is to be noticed. They want us adults to show that we care. So for 30 minutes each week we, the volunteer Readers of “Lead to Read,” give them that personal attention. We show them we care, and by coming back week after week, we build trust. They feel special that their Reader is coming, just for them.

Having a 2nd grader myself and watching her reading skills develop, I take great satisfaction in knowing I can be a part of helping a child with not all the same advantages as mine, hopefully stand side by side with the same confidence as her, and to be able to go after the same job as her someday. Maybe someday these kids can speak to the generation after them about how they achieved success against all odds.

In order to achieve this, I revert to my title, “Reading is Truly Fundamental.” Too many of our children are told they are “the next great thing” when it involves sports. Parents will show up at a little league game, yet not show up at a parent-teacher conference. Maybe they are “the next great thing,” but if I can’t read a playbook, then what? How can I be a team player? If I can’t read a script or the words to a song, how can I get “the big part?” Now for the 99% who are just like you and I are, if I can’t read, how can I fill out the job application or create a resume?

So to those of you who have taken the time to invest an hour each week with Lead to Read, I say thank you. If you are already a part of Lead to Read, you know the smiling faces and the gratification I speak of. If you have taken the time to read this and you are not currently a part of Lead to Read, all I can say is there is a child out there who would love for you to show them you care!!!