second grade student with mentor Mike McGuire at Genesis School

Mentor Moment

by | May 15, 2024 | 0 comments

Recently Mike McGuire’s sessions as a Reading Mentor at Genesis School inspired him to get creative. His student often brought a book on science experiments for them to read. In particular McGuire could tell the “2 cups and a string walkie-talkie” really intrigued the second grader. Once he found out this was something the student had never seen before, McGuire gathered the supplies and assembled one for them to try.

“I didn’t show it to him until our reading session was half over,” said McGuire. “And when I took it out of my backpack, he smiled and jumped up to reach for it. He was elated.”

They stretched out the string between the cups, and both tried to talk into the cups at the same time. “I told him to listen while I talked, and when he heard my voice, he literally screamed — he’s always very happy and expressive, but not like this!”

Now in his third year of volunteering for Lead to Read KC, McGuire suggests asking a student what kind of things they are curious about in order to make Lead to Read KC sessions more productive and fun. “Once you figure out what their interests are, whether it is sports or music or science, for example, reading becomes much easier when we have a book they are actually interested in.”
In elementary school, McGuire recalls that he was not a great reader so he can empathize with students who struggle. “We used to have to do Weekly Readers at my school in Bettendorf, Iowa. I hated them. I struggled with reading speed and comprehension, but I made it through and eventually became a decent reader.”

The walkie-talkie was such a big hit that McGuire offered it to his student as an incentive. “I told him we could experiment with it more later, but if he read the rest of the time, he could have the walkie-talkie. And you know what? He did. He read and focused like he never had before, for the rest of the period.”

Reading Mentors like Mike McGuire make such a difference in their students’ lives. We need more volunteers to serve even more schools. Get more information or apply today at



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