Jamie Morrow Nelson reads insect book with her student

Reading at the Center of It All

by | Apr 11, 2024 | 0 comments

Jamie Morrow Nelson might be new to Lead to Read KC but she’s already figured out why being a Reading Mentor is so meaningful. She started reading at Center Elementary in South Kansas City’s Center School District at the beginning of 2024 and already loves it.

“While reading is key, the most important thing is the connection between you and your student. Allowing a student some agency in this encounter can be so rewarding for them because they do not always have much control over decisions at school,” said Nelson.

She sees the experience as an honor. “Having the privilege to meet students where they are, engaging with them, and encouraging them not only in reading, but in school has been an amazing opportunity.”

Nelson acknowledges she was a struggling reader when she was younger. “I wish there was a program like Lead to Read KC when I was in school. Not everyone is a great “student” by societal standards, but that does not mean they do not have interests all their own which can help them become a better student.”

Nelson has found that letting her reading buddy pick a topic for their books has been a good way to get to know his tastes and start their weekly sessions. “We’ve been reading books about crystals and mythology. If I don’t know a word, I will look it up with my student. I think it shows them that it is ok to not know the answer, but we will always try and guess what the correct pronunciation is before looking it up.”

Lead to Read KC has training resources for new volunteers and tips for fostering a love of reading with their students. Nelson also recommends this advice: “I always ask follow up questions while we are reading. For example, if we are reading about the rainforest, I will ask my student if he knows where rainforests are located.” What a great way to further the learning moments!

There’s still time to volunteer a few hours to Lead to Read KC before the school year ends. We have students waiting for Reading Mentors! Get more information or apply today.

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