Article written by LFLA sophomore Tylea

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” – Dr. Seuss

If this quotation from Dr. Seuss holds any truth, then LFLA sophomore Montel will be going a lot of places. Lift For Life Academy ensures that all students develop a commitment to reading and meet individualized literary benchmarks. However, Montel wasn’t always thrilled about books.

“From 6-7th grade, I didn’t like to read at all,” said Montel. “But then, in 8th grade, I was in Mr.Devitt’s class and we had to read this book called Michael Vey. That’s the first book I actually got into before I started to like reading.”

Montel is referring to Success Hour, which Lift for Life offers in middle school to help students progress in mathematics, reading and other subjects. After finishing Michael Vey, he found out there were sequels and began reading those. From there, reading became his passion. Montel now reads every night after school, sometimes getting lost in a book from 3 p.m. to 10 or 11 p.m. when he falls asleep.

This past year, Montel exceeded the goal that high school English teacher, Mr. Siebert, set for all of his sophomore students, being the first to read one million words in his class. When students reach this milestone, Mr. Siebert inducts students into The Millionaire Club by giving them a personalized sweatshirt and treating them to lunch.

“Mr. Siebert loves to read, and he lets us know it,” said Montel. “Seeing a teacher that we all love and think is funny reading a book makes all of us want to read so we can be more like him. In fact, I think when I get older and have kids, I’m going to set goals just like Mr. Siebert did with us and make sure my kids never think reading is uncool.”

Montel feels like he has grown as a person, a reader, and a student since starting at LFLA in 6th grade. Not only does he say that his reading comprehension is better, but he also sees improvement is his writing, vocabulary, and figurative speech patterns like similes and metaphors.

High School English teacher, Mr. Siebert

Beyond skills for the classroom, Montel also feels like reading has impacted his life by providing him with relatable characters and situations that help him deal with the different things that life throws at him.

“Reading has helped me so much, so I want it to help the people around me also,” said Montel. “I’ll go up to my friends and ask them their favorite sports, their favorite genres of movies and their favorite tv shows. That helps me find books that my friends will really enjoy reading.”


In the future, Montel intends on becoming a faster reader and representing LFLA at the St.Louis Book Battle Competition, where students from different schools compete to answer questions about books they read. He would love to find more books about science, so he can learn more before he pursues a major in chemistry in college. But right now, he’s focused on spreading the positive benefits of reading with those close to him.

“My grandfather is a minister at St. Michael’s Temple, and I’ve started my own Success Hour there,” said Montel. “I help other kids find books they like, and we all just read together. Every new book is like holding a key to a different door, and I want to make sure I have different paths ahead of me.”