Every Tuesday during her lunch hour, Lynn Carlton has a standing appointment with a first-grader at Wendell Phillips Elementary in Kansas City.
In addition to her job as an urban planner at HOK, Carlton is a volunteer with the Lead to Read program. On each visit, Carlton takes 30 minutes to work with her reading buddy Shamarian.
Greeting each other with a big hug, Carlton and Shamarian dive into a picture book. Shamarian carefully places her finger under each word as she reads.
“She’s come a long way,” Carlton said later. “In the beginning of the year, she was a little slower, didn’t quite understand punctuation or questions marks, but now she is really a lot better, and she has started sounding out a lot of the words by herself.”
The progress that Shamarian has made this school year is exactly what husband-and-wife team Lynn and Jean Rundle hoped for when they started Lead to Read in 2011.
Beginning with just 30 friends that they recruited to read with fourth-graders at Whittier Elementary, 2600 N. 43rd Terrace in Kansas City, Kan., Lead to Read now has about 300 volunteers working with students in five schools, including one in Manhattan, Kan.