Lauren Bayne, Congregation Shaare Emeth

Lauren Bayne volunteered with Ready Readers for her bat mitzvah project. 

Every Monday afternoon during this past school year you would find Lauren at the Agape Academy and Child Development Center in University City. It was through the Ready Readers program that she got to share her love of books by reading to the young children. 

Ready Readers is a St. Louis-based nonprofit organization dedicated to inspiring preschool age children from low- income communities to love books and to have the emergent literacy skills necessary to become readers when they enter kindergarten.

Daughter of Suzi and Alan Bayne of Chesterfield, Lauren read 15 minutes to the 2 to 3 year olds and then spent another 30 minutes reading to the 3 to 4 year olds. About once a month, Ready Readers would provide free books to each child. Lauren would read the book out loud to the kids, then pass out their copy and re-reread the book with them trying to follow along. At the end of that day, the child took the book home to keep. Lauren also passed out smiley face stickers, which they loved. She always got lots of hugs before she left.

“Mondays became my favorite day of the week because I would get to read to the kids,” said Lauren, a student at Crestview Middle School. “In a way, it was like reliving my childhood since I could read what were my favorite books as a preschooler to them. They soaked in each and every book like a sponge,” she said. 

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“I am lucky to have been a part of a project where I can see the difference right in front of me. I’ve always loved reading, and this way I got to share it.”