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.

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 >


  • I’ve had the privilege of meeting and speaking with incredible community champions, passionate and brilliant educators, administrators, parents and even a few children.  Many years ago, a very powerful and influential man told me that education was a problem in Kansas City because we did not have an education champion.  To be clear, he was… Read More

    Angela PritchettMay 16, 2024
    Read post >
  • Stringing Together Words and Cups Recently Mike McGuire’s sessions as a Reading Mentor at Genesis School inspired him to get creative. His student often brought a book on science experiments for them to read. In particular McGuire could tell the “2 cups and a string walkie-talkie” really intrigued the second grader. Once he found out… Read More

    Angela PritchettMay 10, 2024
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  • Jamie Morrow Nelson might be new to Lead to Read KC but she’s already figured out why being a Reading Mentor is so meaningful. She started reading at Center Elementary in South Kansas City’s Center School District at the beginning of 2024 and already loves it.  “While reading is key, the most important thing is… Read More

    Angela PritchettApril 11, 2024
    Read post >
See all blog posts >