Creating a community of readers, one lunch hour at a time
Fre3dom Interior volunteers spend their lunch break reading with local first and
second graders to boost literacy and enable their success in school.
Children spend the first three years of elementary school learning to read. From that point onward, they read to learn. That’s why literacy is crucial from an early age, and it’s why Fre3dom Interiors read to children through Kansas City’s Lead to Read KC program, which recently was featured on NBC Nightly News.
As Lead to Read volunteers, we read with a student for 30 minutes once a week in classrooms at Garfield Elementary in Kansas City, Missouri.
The City of Kansas City has been focused on improving third grade literacy since 2011, when Mayor Sly James began promoting the importance of literacy in lifelong education. In 2011, the mayor founded an initiative called Turn the Page, which has served as the voice box for literacy. That same year, Lead to Read KC began placing volunteers in classrooms, and quickly became the boots on the
ground for improving literacy in the schools.
Last year, Lead to Read KC provided 1,100 volunteer reading mentors to students in Kansas City. The volunteers start in September and visit the classroom throughout the school year. The program ends for the summer in May with an ice cream social, when each volunteer gives their student a book.
In 2017, test scores show third grade reading proficiency in Kansas City is 55 percent, up from 33 percent in 2011 when Lead to Read KC started. With help from volunteers like the ones from Fre3dom Interiors, that figure is expected to continue increasing.
To join, go to LeadtoReadkc.org, click the “Become a Reader” tab.