Kansas City woman behind successful literacy program celebrated - KCTV5 News

Kansas City woman behind successful literacy program celebrated

Posted: Updated:
leadtoreadkc.org leadtoreadkc.org
KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

A metro woman who has been fighting for kids is now fighting for her life. But Friday night she got to see how her legacy will carry on.

The kids in the Kansas City metro classrooms get reading lessons from their regular teachers. But when the Lead to Read people show up, it's like an in-house fieldtrip, a change of pace to celebrate.

"They develop personal relationships. Each child has his or her own reader and they look forward to that," Phillips Elementary Principal Deloris Brown said.

Brown was among those honoring the program's founder Friday night.

Jean Rundle wasn't expecting the honor, but she also wasn't expecting the program to grow so quickly in two years. The group, called Lead to Read, began with 30 volunteers. It's already up to 200 and reaching seven elementary classrooms in five urban core schools.

Her husband said the growth came in part from a model that uses the school day to make volunteering a commitment that won't cut into family time.

"If you take 30 lunch hours a year, you can really make a significant difference in a kid, because they can learn to love to read and also, along the way, improve their reading scores," Lynn Rundle, Jean's husband and the co-founder of Lead to Read, said.

He said students who participated last year at Wendell Phillips Elementary increased their reading scores by an average of 24 percent from September to May.

The celebration of hitting 200 is bittersweet though because there's no telling how much longer Jean Rundle's mission will be in her hands.

"She has heart failure and it's caused by radiation when she had Hodgkin's Disease when she was 16 years old. So that's been haunting her for a long time, but this last year it's really made a significant turn for the worse," Lynn Rundle said.

So the couple hopes the numbers will continue to grow and there will be more volunteers to teach more kids and keep Jean Rundle's vision alive long after she's gone.

"This is an opportunity for her vision to start Lead to Read, to live on a long time after we're both gone," Lynn Rundle said.

It's not just reading skills the volunteers provide. Brown said having someone come into the student's lives and then keep coming back every week with no ulterior motive itself is truly special for a lot of the kids.

If you are interested in volunteering, you can sign up online. Click here for a link.

Copyright 2013 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • ATF looking for suspects who stole guns from Frontier Justice

    ATF looking for suspects who stole guns from Frontier Justice

    Saturday, August 18 2018 4:31 PM EDT2018-08-18 20:31:35 GMT
    (Via the ATF)(Via the ATF)

    The ATF is offering a $10,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of those who stole firearms from Frontier Justice.

    More >

    The ATF is offering a $10,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of those who stole firearms from Frontier Justice.

    More >
  • Chris Watts' daughters' bodies were submerged in crude oil for 4 days

    Chris Watts' daughters' bodies were submerged in crude oil for 4 days

    Saturday, August 18 2018 7:21 AM EDT2018-08-18 11:21:28 GMT
    This undated photo shows Shanann Watts, 34, and her two young daughters. (Facebook, CNN)This undated photo shows Shanann Watts, 34, and her two young daughters. (Facebook, CNN)
    This undated photo shows Shanann Watts, 34, and her two young daughters. (Facebook, CNN)This undated photo shows Shanann Watts, 34, and her two young daughters. (Facebook, CNN)

    The bodies of two young girls were submerged in crude oil for four days before authorities discovered them on Thursday.

    More >

    The bodies of two young girls were submerged in crude oil for four days before authorities discovered them on Thursday.

    More >
  • Colorado family struggled with debt before husband's arrest in wife, daughters' killing

    Colorado family struggled with debt before husband's arrest in wife, daughters' killing

    Saturday, August 18 2018 8:06 PM EDT2018-08-19 00:06:38 GMT
    Chris Watts is seen pictured with his wife Shanann and his two daughters. Shanann and the girls were found dead, and Chris is under investigation for their murders. He allegedly confessed to killing them. (KMGH, Family Photos)Chris Watts is seen pictured with his wife Shanann and his two daughters. Shanann and the girls were found dead, and Chris is under investigation for their murders. He allegedly confessed to killing them. (KMGH, Family Photos)
    Chris Watts is seen pictured with his wife Shanann and his two daughters. Shanann and the girls were found dead, and Chris is under investigation for their murders. He allegedly confessed to killing them. (KMGH, Family Photos)Chris Watts is seen pictured with his wife Shanann and his two daughters. Shanann and the girls were found dead, and Chris is under investigation for their murders. He allegedly confessed to killing them. (KMGH, Family Photos)

    Chris and Shanann Watts detailed their life on social media. They shared photos of beach vacations to San Diego and screengrabs of lovey-dovey text messages.

    More >

    Chris and Shanann Watts detailed their life on social media. They shared photos of beach vacations to San Diego and screengrabs of lovey-dovey text messages.

    More >
Powered by Frankly
KCTV 5 News

Online Public File:
KCTV  KSMO

Powered by WorldNow CNN
All content © 2018, KCTV; Kansas City, MO. (A Meredith Corporation Station) . All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.