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!

As we gear up for the 2023-24 school year, we’re recruiting hundreds of Reading Mentors to meet the need at our 28 partner schools! If you’re a returning mentor who hasn’t confirmed for the fall, email [email protected]. If you’re new, apply here. Already confirmed? Recruit a friend. Everyone can help!

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 >


  • A Heartfelt Farewell: Celebrating Pauly Hart’s Legacy As we say goodbye to Pauly Hart, Executive Director of Lead to Read KC, there’s a mix of emotions – appreciation, achievement, and anticipation, just to name a few. For the past eight years, her unwavering dedication to improving children’s reading skills has been the guiding force of… Read More

    Angela PritchettNov. 28, 2023
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  • Lead to Read KC is pleased to announce that Terri E. Barnes will join our Leadership Team as Interim Executive Director, effective January 1, 2024. Current Executive Director Pauly Hart is stepping down after eight years of dedicated service. Barnes is ideal to serve in this capacity due to her considerable experience and deep commitment… Read More

    Angela PritchettNov. 27, 2023
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  • When the huge box appeared in the hallway of Kansas City International Academy with a sign that read “What is in here?” students made all kinds of fun guesses and couldn’t wait to find out. Everyone gathered on October 23 and cheered as the box was removed to reveal a remarkable vending machine stocked with… Read More

    Angela PritchettOct. 25, 2023
    Read post >
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