Lead to Read Celebration


Reading is one of the most vital, important skills to succeed in school and ultimately, in life. It’s no surprise, many of Kansas City’s students fight to read fluently. To combat this issue early on, adult volunteers from Lead to Read partner together with young KCPS students to explore the world by reading books.

Lead to Read was developed by former teachers Lynn and Jean Rundle when they witnessed first-hand how intelligent kids struggled to complete basic forms. They believed that the problem wasn’t just that the kids weren’t reading; it was also that reading didn’t seem relevant to them.

Lead to Read’s mission is to help kids in first through fourth grades improve their basic reading skills by reading one-on-one with a trusted, caring adult from the community. Once a week for 30 minutes, readers and kids experience the love of reading and learning by reading engaging books in their elementary school classroom.

“If we can reduce the dropout rate by helping kids improve their reading skills, lives will be transformed and our city will be positively changed,” said Jean Rundle.

Approximately 1200 volunteers serve once a week reading to KCPS students. During the six years Lead to Read has been in operation, the literacy rate among third-graders in Kansas City, Mo. has increased from 33 percent to 49 percent.

“Just 30 minutes of reading with a child every week, consistently, can change their life,” KCPS Community/Partners and Engagement Services Coordinator Nicole Collier White said. “It not only shows that someone cares about you and your education, but that people in this community are invested in the lives our students.”

During the first week of May, readers and students at the various KCPS schools came together to celebrate a successful year of reading partnership. Adult partners gave gifts of books to their students and team celebrated together after with delicious ice cream.

Thank you to all of our Lead to Read volunteers! To see more pictures from the celebrations, visit our Flickr page.