Why We Do It

Kids who go to many Kansas City-area schools are almost as likely to drop out of high school as they are to graduate.

According to a national study, Kansas City ranks 40th out of the nation’s 50 largest cities in graduation rates.1 And in one of the area’s biggest school districts  – the Kansas City, Mo., School District – about half2 the children drop out of high school. Half.

The aftereffects can last for a lifetime:

When kids drop out, they’re more likely to earn less money, wind up on welfare, get divorced, become criminals and even die early, according to research3. With a future like that, why would anyone drop out of school? One of many reasons is that some kids can’t read. And others can’t read well enough to perform simple tasks needed to navigate life, like filling out job applications or medical forms in a doctor’s office.

Lead to Read works to improve basic reading skills, one child and one volunteer at a time.

“If we can reduce the dropout rate by helping kids improve their reading skills, lives will be transformed and our city will be positively changed,” says Jean Rundle, co-founder of Lead to Read.

“The personal involvement of reading with children not only encourages them, but will ultimately raise graduation rates in urban school districts. By directly helping these kids receive a high school education, you can help them change their lives and ultimately the community.”

Want to help?

1Source: America’s Promise Alliance

2Source: The Kansas City Star

3Source: Pew Partnership for Civic Change