Reading Mentors Create Classrooms Full of Confident Readers

Traci MurphyMarch 30, 2023

After almost 12 years of placing Reading Mentors in classrooms, the Lead to Read KC team has become a valued literacy partner for teachers. So what do teachers have to say about the impact Lead to Read KC is having in their classrooms?  For one thing, they say Lead to Read Day is often the best day of the week.

“Wednesdays or “Lead to Read” days are my students’ favorite day of the week,” Katie Aulgur, third grade teacher at Trailwoods Elementary, said. “All week, they count down the days until they get to see their reading mentor again. I have noticed an increase in attendance on Wednesdays because of our Lead to Read session.”

This is Aulgur’s first year having Reading Mentors in her classroom, and she’s happy that she does.

“My students have not only increased their interest and engagement but also in their reading stamina,” she said. “When the timer goes off to start packing up, many students beg for five more minutes of reading.”

Reading Mentors also help students with strategies to learn and master sight words.

Those strategies are also helpful to the teachers like Bethanie Pagel, third-grade teacher at Primitivo Garcia.

“Having Lead to Read KC Reading Mentors in my classroom helps me make sure that each student is getting the attention and reading help they need at their level,” Pagel said.

Pagel has been working with Lead to Read’s Reading Mentors for three years and has seen improvement in all of her students’ reading skills.

“I have seen my lowest readers improve a lot with their reading confidence,” Pagel said. “My more advanced readers are being challenged to improve by reading chapter books.”

Spending time together

The time students and Reading Mentors spend together is engaging and it leads to increased reading and social-emotional skills.

“My students have become confident speakers, active listeners, and advocates for others,” Aulgur said. “Having a positive role model from the community has made a great difference in their lives as students and as children.”

Shannon Piggie, first grade teacher at Banneker Elementary, sees the Reading Mentors making the same difference for her students.

“Lead to Read allows the students the experience of having a mentor that they know will offer support,” she said. “Most of my students are now confident about grabbing a book, flipping the pages and reading.”

Want to join the more than 1,000 Reading Mentors helping to build a community of confident readers? Visit to learn how.