Six years, countless stories, and one unwavering belief: “Connection first, always!” says Reading Mentor Alix Carruth. She has seen firsthand how a consistent presence makes a big impact in the lives of others, especially the student she has read with at Gordon Parks for the past two years.
“Lead to Read KC is there for the long-term vision of improving literacy for the youth in Kansas City and we all know if a child doesn’t feel seen, loved, and heard, any other goal you have for the reading session will go out the window.”
Carruth fondly recalls books she read as a child, such as Shel Silverstein’s The Giving Tree and Barbara Park’s Junie B. Jones series. Now when she and her student bond over new favorite books, she is attuned to what makes their reading fun and how much they look forward to seeing each other every week.
“Lead to Read KC is doing incredible work in our city and I am grateful for the opportunity to be a part of it.” Her advice to anyone interested in becoming a Reading Mentor, is to treat each of the students as individuals.
“Your reader may not be motivated by what motivates other kids — they may not enjoy the reading strategies you gravitate toward or remember from your own upbringing. The teachers know what the students need, so I always rely on them as a resource and keep that communication open throughout the year.”