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

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 first 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.

Lead to Read KC works on multiple levels

  • Behind the scenes, with teachers who choose reading material and share reading concepts
  • Upfront, with students, who thrive on the extra reading help and one-to-one attention

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 $175 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 …