Archive for the ‘Blog’ Category

UBER and #RideToRead

In honor of Read Across America Day (March 2nd) we’re partnering with our friends at Uber of Kansas City.  You can use the code RAAD16 to get your first ride FREE.  While in your first Uber ride, share using hashtag #RideToRead on social media and let everyone know you’re part of the community making a difference in 3rd grade reading scores!


Please note that the code (RAAD16) is only good for people who are new to UBER (or those who create a new account). The code is active now through the end of April.

“CHECK IN” at your school

Sharing another simple way to spread the word about Lead to Read.  Simply use the “check in” feature on Facebook when you arrive or depart from your school each week.  This allows your social media circles to be cued into how you’re spending you time and challenge them to find out more and even sign up to read!!


Categories: Blog

Lead to Read Teachers self-report the benefits of having Readers*

  • Students are EXCITED about reading
  • Positive experience provided by 1:1 relationships
  • Students are motivated, engaged and interested in reading
  • Any type of reading that we can get our kids to do is great (reading, listening and discussing)
  • Adding to the excitement of reading
  • Practicing reading fluency
  • Students get experience reading aloud

*Feedback provided to Lead to Read via 2015-16 Mid Year Review

Categories: Blog

Lead to Read is Getting Down to Business

“I’m saving you money!” That’s the conclusion I came to recently when I was talking with a group of employees at a local company about becoming Readers for Lead to Read. Many of the employees said their lunch hour is often spent shopping on the internet or dropping several dollars on lunch at a restaurant. Now, instead of spending money during the lunch hour, these employees have decided to spend one lunch hour a week reading with Lead to Read.

Starting in October, Lead to Read has been tapping into our business community to recruit Readers. Our goal is to identify companies that can provide groups of employees to champion/adopt classrooms together. The initial response has been very positive. Three years ago, Burns and McDonnell spearheaded our business partnership with nearly 80 Readers in three classrooms at Boone Elementary in south Kansas City. This group has expanded and is now reading in six classrooms each week.  This year we are pleased to announce similar business partnerships with CBIZ, DST, MVP Law, and Populous. And most recently we have forged a new partnership with the Kansas City Police Department, placing law enforcement Readers in our classrooms to help foster positive community relationships in our urban core.

Employees like Reading for Lead to Read because they can volunteer using their lunch hour and not give up evenings or weekends. It also builds camaraderie among employees because Lead to Read encourages carpooling. And most importantly, our Readers love making a difference in young people’s lives.

If you know of a business or organization that may be interested in partnering with Lead to Read or making a financial contribution, please send me the contact information.

Together we are creating a community of Readers!

Author: Pauly Hart

Categories: Blog

Meet Pauly Hart

Please welcome Pauly Hart to the leadership team, she is our Director of Reader Development.  We’re very excited to have her as part of the team.  Her goal is rounding up as many readers as we can place in classrooms!  

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On a serious note, her effort will be focusing on developing partnerships with area businesses and organizations to more quickly start new classrooms in our schools. For example, we have recently partnered with MVP Law Firm to champion a new first grade at Whittier Elementary. They start reading with the kids on January 26.

If you know of other businesses or organizations that she can contact, send her an email today! 

Pauly comes to Lead to Read with a diverse professional background that includes education, corporate communications, sales,and kitchen design. The common thread running through her work history is that she gravitates toward creative projects, and understands the power of human relationships. At Lead to Read she is applying her skills to help create a community of readers.

Categories: Blog

More Tips for Readers

We’ve been connecting with our teachers to get some feedback on strategies to best engage their students during our reading sessions.  Below are the tips shared by a first grade teacher at Garfield.   For the “animal name” strategies not all teachers use the animal names but most do teach the strategies. So for instance for “Skippy Frog”, the Reader could say, “Why don’t you try to skip that word. Read to the end of the sentence and then try the word again.”   These should give some ideas that will help with the kids.

Reading Strategies for Solving Words:

  • Eagle Eye- Look at the picture. Use the beginning letter of the word to make sense of it.
  • Lips the Fish- Get your mouth ready. Say the first sound.
  • Stretchy Snake- Slooooowly stretch each letter sound together.
  • Chunky Monkey- Break the word into chunks you know/look for parts you know.     c ar t     fl at    walk ing
  • Tryin’ Lion- Try to re-read the sentence. Think about what word would make sense.
  • Skippy Frog- Skip the tricky word. Read to the end of the sentence. Go back & try the word again.
  • Flippy Dolphin- Flip the vowel sound. If the short vowel sound doesn’t work try the long vowel sound.

Comprehension Strategies

Check For Understanding:

  • Start the book by making predictions. What do you think will happen in this story? Use the book cover or take a quick “picture walk” through the illustrations.
  • Ask questions and make comments during the reading process.
  • After reading a book, have your child tell you the events from the story in the correct order.
  • What was the problem in this story?
  • How did the character feel when…?
  • What was the main idea?
  • Encourage your child to make connections. Does this story remind you of another book you read, an event in your life, or a movie you have seen?
Categories: Blog, Readers, Reading

Tips for Readers

Recently a teacher suggested the following reading format/outline as help to the volunteers in her room.  Consider trying it with your student!

1. Talk about the pictures in the book
2. Scan for obscure vocabulary to preview (ex. ‘machine’ in a book about a farm)
3. Read together
4. Discuss the book– interesting things you learned from the book, if you liked the book, if you would read it again or recommend it to a friend?

*More Tips for Readers here

Categories: Blog, Readers, Volunteers


This is our 5th year serving the first and second grade students at Wendell Phillips Elementary (KCPS).  We often mention our goal is to be a scaffolding or support for what the teachers are already doing in the classroom.  Today I wanted to share with you what one of the newest Lead to Read Phillips teachers is doing to engage Readers with her students.  Students & Readers spend their time intentionally divided into 10 minute sections.  Science reading for 10 minutes, reading book for 10 minutes and then a free book of choice for 10 minutes.  We think this is excellent!  Non-fiction is a hard piece for teachers to engage students in, so a perfect place to get Readers – who are anticipated each week – to simply spend a few minutes reading in this content area while asking the same comprehension questions as they would in a free reading book.  Additionally, when you have 20 students and 20 Readers engaging over free reading materials in a classroom each week over the course of the semester they can exhaust all the available material quickly.  Breaking apart that time, means they are reading to learn – which we LOVE and is the whole point!  Below are two email accountings of the success the students have found in this structure with the support of the Lead to Read Readers!
Yesterday, Ms. Wooten was bubbling with excitement at her students’ science test scores.  They were all above 80%.  I believe I understood her to say that their first science test was more around 10%.  She was so happy to show us her grade book, naming off each student and their A and B grades.  Normally, Ms. Wooten is all-business about transitioning the students and volunteers immediately into reading time.  Today, she spent a few minutes celebrating her kids and us.  She asked her kids how they knew so much about the science they tested on.  She mentioned one child’s response, “Oh, my reader and I talked all about it.”  When we read with her students, Ms. Wooten has them prepared with about 4 pages of science, a specific selection from their reading books, and then their free-choice book.  Though we are reading classwork for about 2/3 of our time, we focus on the reading and sharing.  We are free to stop and talk in a way I imagine is rare in the classroom setting.
This morning, in my journaling, I considered Story Land.  Yesterday, I sat cross-legged on the floor with two second-grade girls, enjoying the story that words brought into existence between us — laughing, learning, and relating.
A story creates common ground around which we can gather.  It is not concerned with our differences or lack of mutual life experience.  In itself it provides common ground.  It provides a safe place to be together, explore differences, share knowledge, and discover mutuality.
Another note I received:
We have been reading in the science books with Ms. Wooton’s class the past couple of weeks.  She wanted to tell you how much she appreciates this because for the first time in her 30 years of teaching, her kids almost all got 80% or more correct on the science test; some got 100% correct!    She told them how well they did and one child said it was because their reader explained it to him so well.  Today we just read books for fun.  I guess helping them read the science books was worthwhile!
 I included both accounts because I think there is the potential for Readers to wonder if their time is well spent, and I think this huge success is proof that it is very much making a difference!  If you’re not already reading with Lead to Read, consider joining this effort today.

End of Semester – Giving Books

As we enter the season of Thanksgiving and near the end of the semester, we’ve gotten questions of how to engage with the schools & students in additional meaningful ways.

First, you are doing this through the time you give each week to come be a part of this incredible movement.  I, on behalf of many, want to let you know how incredibly thankful we are for each of you.  You are Lead to Read, and you ARE making a difference.  In the US, the typical middle-class child enters first grade with 1,000-1,700 hours of picture book reading time; a low-income child averages just 25 hours.*  You’re part of bridging that gap!
Secondly, we have two ways that you can further engage during this fall/holiday season.  Over the next several weeks the Classroom & Site Coordinators will be accepting monetary donations at each of the reading session.  You can also make tax deductible donations very easily online here.  These donations will go toward the purchase of a book for each of the students in the program.  On our final day of reading for the semester, each Reader will be able to give a book to their student.  These books will go home with them to read and enjoy!
Finally, we will have a box or bin set up at each school to accept book donations.  These books will be collected and donated to the school for the classroom and library use.  New or gently used books can be added to these boxes until the final session of the year.  Please note: we appreciate your thoughtfulness in only donating books that have life left in them.  Torn, tattered or worn down books should be recycled.
*Health for All Children: Revised Fourth Edition By David M B Hall, David Elliman
Categories: Blog