12 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 advancing our literacy platform and mobilizing community volunteers.
Why? Only 20 percent of third graders in Kansas City public and charter schools are reading on grade level. 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 short video to learn more about Lead to Read KC's mission and the impact of our program — and how easy it is to get involved.

What We Do

  1. Recruit mentors icon
    Provide reading and mentoring support to students in first through third grade who attend high-need schools.
  2. School icon
    Provide individualized tutoring by certified teachers.
  3. GitHub icon
    Distribute books — and provide social-emotional support via author partnerships.

What's New

Read our latest newsletter.

Lead to Read KC Seeks Executive Director

We are excited to announce that Lead to Read KC is seeking a collaborative, operationally excellent, and personally dynamic leader to serve as our next Executive Director. View the job listing and information about how to apply.

We Need You!

We still have classes and students on our wait list for this school year! There is a need for hundreds of Reading Mentors to meet the requests from schools. If you’re a new volunteer, apply here. Try out a reading session and we’re sure you’ll be hooked! Email [email protected]. Everyone can help!

Candid Seal of Transparency

Lead to Read KC has earned Candid’s Platinum Seal of Transparency. This recognition is a testament to our commitment to openness and accountability in our operations. Visit our nonprofit profile on Candid to learn more about donations to our organization.

Celebrate your Birthday with Lead to Read KC

Do you have a birthday this month? Click here to find out how you can celebrate with Lead to Read KC and get a sweet treat for yourself!

Buy a Lead to Read KC T-shirt

Do you wear your heart on your sleeve? How about your support for Lead to Read KC? Well, now’s your chance! Order a T-shirt to help spread the word and support our mission to advance children’s literacy in Kansas City!

Our Impact: 2022-23 School Year


students received mental health-themed author visits


students paired with 1,100+ Reading Mentors


schools served


books distributed


students received online personalized tutoring from a certified teacher


reading and mentoring sessions completed
Learn more >


  • “The child that is not embraced by the village will burn it down to feel it’s warmth.” African Proverb As I reflect on the recent tragedy following the Super Bowl parade, this quote comes to mind. I am also thinking about all of the little people, and how their brains may be processing what happened.… Read More

    Angela PritchettFeb. 16, 2024
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  • Ashley Berndt and Amy Haynes, two passionate Reading Mentors with Lead to Read KC, share not only a common bond in their love for reading but they also share reading with a student at Crossroads Academy Quality Hill. Both began volunteering in 2018 and over the past year have been alternating weekly reading sessions with… Read More

    Angela PritchettFeb. 14, 2024
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  • I absolutely love the anticipation of the New Year and all of the possibilities it presents. You know the drill; weight loss, save money, spend more time with family and friends, eat healthier, drink more water and the list goes on. As a new member of the Lead to Read KC family, I am excited… Read More

    ltradminJan. 18, 2024
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