10 years of creating a community of readers, one lunch hour at a time.

Our Mission

To support the social, emotional and reading skills that are foundational for student success by mobilizing community volunteers to read with students in elementary schools.
Why? Fewer than half of Kansas City, Missouri third graders are reading on grade level. In many high-need schools, it’s fewer than 25 percent. Children who are not reading by third grade are four times more likely to drop out of high school. Lead to Read KC is addressing this challenge. Learn more >
Watch this KMBC news story to see how Lead to Read KC Reading Mentors are making a difference—and how easy it is to get involved!

How It Works

  1. School icon
    1. Identify schools and students in need of reading and mentoring support.
  2. Recruit mentors icon
    2. Recruit, train and pair Reading Mentors with students in grades K-3.
  3. GitHub icon
    3. Provide students with 30 minutes of one-to-one reading and mentoring support one lunch hour each week.

What's New

Read Our Latest Newsletter

Get Schooled Logo

Join us for Get Schooled: Cheers to 10 Years! on August 28. It will be an evening filled with delicious food, tasty cocktails, interactive experiences and an awesome raffle — all at the new Wonderscope Children’s Museum’s stunning indoor-outdoor venue. Celebrate Lead to Read KC’s 10-year anniversary and help Kansas City children build a brighter future! Learn more.

Reading Mentor Named Hometown Hero

Shannon Cummings, a long-time Lead to Read KC Reading Mentor and active member of the Friends of Lead to Read KC, was selected as Literacy Hometown Hero by the Kansas City Monarchs. We are proud to have Shannon represent Lead to Read KC!

The award was part of the Literacy Awareness Wonderful Weekend, which also raised funds for local literacy organizations, including Lead to Read KC. Thank you, Kansas City Monarchs!

Summer 2021 Volunteer Opportunities

Students need reading and mentoring support now more than ever. Want to try out Lead to Read KC with a short commitment? Become a virtual Reading Mentor in our 2021 Summer School Program! It’s easy to apply online.

If you’ve been a Reading Mentor in a prior year, simply email Volunteer Manager Hayley Rees at [email protected] to sign up.

View the latest reading schedule here.

Check out this one-minute video to see just how easy and meaningful digital reading and mentoring can be!

Follow us on social media for program updates: Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn

New Read-Aloud Encourages Acceptance

Check out our new read-aloud video: We’re All Weird! Since the launch of Lead to Read KC in 2011, we have stood for inclusiveness and respect. So, when we heard about We’re All Weird—a new children’s book by local author Kristen Heath—we wanted to share the book’s message of acceptance and kindness.

Many thanks to our wonderful community partner KMBC 9 News for producing this fun video—and to Bryan Busby, Haley Harrison, Len Jennings and Neville Miller for sharing their love of reading!


Our Reach: 2019-20


classrooms served


hours of one-to-one reading support and mentorship provided


schools served


books distributed


students paired with a reading mentor
Learn more >


  • Learn more about the many benefits of reading―and how it all adds up. (Hint: Reading for six minutes a day reduces stress by 68 percent!)

    Martha ConradtMay 19, 2021
    Read post >
  • Read about long-time, meaningful volunteer experiences in our program at Crossroads Academy Quality Hill.

    Martha ConradtApril 23, 2021
    Read post >
  • Students need reading support now more than ever. Learn more about the latest forecasts and key supports Lead to Read KC is providing to partner schools.

    Martha ConradtMarch 3, 2021
    Read post >
See all blog posts >