Lead to Read KC Partners with Local Businesses to Build Foundation for STEM Careers


Member News

Kansas City, MO, December 8, 2022 — Lead to Read KC is working to help build Kansas City’s future workforce through a one-day volunteer opportunity targeted at local businesses. 

During the one-hour visit, each volunteer is paired with a student to read Someone Builds the Dream by Lisa Wheeler, a children’s book that explores a variety of STEM careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The book also highlights many construction jobs that are essential to our community. At the end of the session, each child receives a copy of the book to take home.

“This will help students develop a love of reading and inspire curiosity about how things are made and how a city builds its dreams,” said Pauly Hart, Executive Director. “We have so many highly skilled workers in Kansas City who can share their STEM professions with students. Many future jobs will involve STEM, but in order to work in STEM, students have to be able to READ. Literacy is the foundation that education is built upon.”

Turner Construction is among the first businesses to participate in the program on December 13 at George Melcher Elementary School. Lead to Read KC is seeking more business partners, especially in the engineering and construction fields.

“Reading with a child provides exponential value for all parties involved,” said Karen Hogan, VP/GM of Turner Construction Company. “Someone Builds a Dream, combined with being able to talk about the industry from a personal and professional perspective, will be impactful for igniting a fire in future generations of STEM professionals.”

Program participants ask themselves, What value does my job bring to the community? What do I love about my job? How can I explain that to a fourth grader? Then together with their student, they explore dozens of occupations beautifully illustrated in the book. Lead to Read KC is offering this program to its partner schools that participate in its weekly Reading Mentor program.

Lead to Read KC is a children's literacy nonprofit dedicated to supporting the social, emotional and reading skills that are foundational to student success. It does this by mobilizing community volunteers, called Reading Mentors, to read one-to-one with students attending high-need elementary schools across Kansas City, as well as through its tutoring program, its Reading Is EverywhereSM community book distribution initiative, and its author visit program.


Pauly Hart
Executive Director
Lead to Read KC