Patio Reads

by | Jun 17, 2024 | 0 comments

A few nights ago I was sitting on my patio, reading a good book, sipping a cool drink, and feeling so lucky. You know those moments?  They’re imbued with that peaceful, contented type of joy that comes from deep within. I frequently get these moments when there’s a book in my hand. When I have a book in my hand I know I am going to be swept into a new world, experience the world through a new point of view, learn something new about our world, and so much more.  When I have a book in my hand, I know it’s all good. Reading is all of this and so much more; reading is a source of peace, a source of joy, a source of knowledge, a source of empowerment, and a human right that we must all be committed to. This is critical during a month that honors Juneteenth and Pride, to remind us that reading is essential for building an inclusive and just society.

I was not always able to get these peaceful moments with a book in my hands. I started off as a struggling reader and, initially, a book in my hands induced anxiety more than anything else.  It took many committed and caring adults to ensure that I had access to this right: my grandpa taught me the alphabet, my first grade teacher put me in small groups that received additional support, my second grade teacher gave me the mindset of “I can’t read this, YET,” my aunt sat with me through hooked on phonics tapes, my uncle built a bookshelf for me in our garage out of two-by-fours and cinder blocks, my mom lined that bookshelf with donated books and read her favorite book, The Hobbit, to me before heading out for her night shift.  All readers are readers because enough people along the way taught them how to read, cared that they read, and got them the resources to practice reading. 

I am so passionate about the work at Lead to Read KC because we support the path to reading in each of those ways – our tutoring partnership works to teach the skill of reading, our Reading Mentors imbue the care of reading, and our Reading Is Everywhere is making sure reading resources are widely accessible. As I begin my work as Executive Director, I am focusing on how to strengthen and amplify our impact through these routes and I’m so grateful that you’re a part of this strengthening and amplification.

All children deserve the right to grow into literate, choice filled adults and each of us can be a helpful reading advocate along the way.  This summer, if you see me sitting on a patio, with a cool drink on the side and a good book in my hand you are seeing the result of a lot of intentional, caring adults making sure I could access my right to reading. I envision a future where the students we serve will find the same patio joys, and each of us will know the peaceful comfort of being a part of their success.  

Rhea Muchalla LeGrande
Executive Director
Lead to Read KC

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