Welcome to Lead to Read, a free program for Kansas City-area urban schools - where kids and volunteers bond over books.

Fun Community Read-Aloud Keeps Kids Reading

To encourage children to keep reading while they’re away from the classroom, Lead to Read KC partnered with KMBC 9 News to create a community read-aloud video. Don’t miss Mayor Quinton Lucas and other Kansas City VIPs as they read a super-silly book! 

Program Update due to COVID-19

Lead to Read KC is not returning to classrooms this school year. We’re working hard to ensure Lead to Read KC continues to serve our students next fall, which may include digital access, as well as retaining our in-school program model. Students will need their Reading Mentors’ support more than ever! 

In an effort to keep students reading, Lead to Read KC has distributed more than 4,000 books to students at our partner schools. We are also coordinating online read-alouds. Please follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn for program updates and to learn more about how you can support our program. 

In the News

KMBC – Program helps elementary students become avid readers 

KCPT – Taking your lunch hour to share a love of reading.

NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt
featured Lead to Read KC volunteers.

Our concept is simple

Lead to Read KC connects trusted, caring adult volunteers (called Reading Mentors) with students in kindergarten through third grade. For 30 minutes over one lunch hour a week, Reading Mentors and students explore the world by reading books provided by the students’ teachers, in the safety and security of elementary school classrooms.

Our mission is 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.

We are a 501(c)(3) organization. Visit our Donate Page to learn more about how to make your tax-exempt donation!


The Value of Lead to Read KC

Our reading mentors provide more than 11,000 hours of one-to-one reading support to nearly 1,100 students every school year.  We do this at a cost of about $200 per student. Compared to a private tutor, charging as much as $50 an hour or $650 a year, it’s easy to see why Lead to Read KC is a valuable literacy intervention. Learn more …