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 volunteer@leadtoreadkc.org. 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 >


  • We put out the call over the summer asking our corporate sponsors, community partners, and Lead to Read KC social followers to help us fill our bookcases. And oh baby, did you deliver! We received thousands of books from drives, donations, and drop-offs. You might be asking, what are we going to do with all… Read More

    Pauly HartSept. 20, 2023
    Read post >
  • Since 2011, Reading Mentors have been the heart of our program. Learn why one of our volunteers returns year after year.

    Traci MurphyAug. 29, 2023
    Read post >
  • It’s no exaggeration to say that Lead to Read KC wouldn’t be where we are today without Director of Administration Sarah Gaikwad’s hard work and dedication.

    Pauly HartAug. 24, 2023
    Read post >
See all blog posts >