Archive for the ‘Blog’ Category

Volunteerism inspires multi-generational engagement

Michael Lee, a Hallmark artist, became a Lead to Read KC Reading Mentor at Longfellow Elementary in 2018. Michael’s daughter London was inspired by his volunteerism, and she too wanted to help students in our program. 

Together, they decided to use proceeds from Michael’s booth at the 2019 Hallmarket, the Hallmark art festival, to purchase books for Lead to Read KC students at Longfellow. Michael drew caricatures of attendees, and London, an eighth grader, helped staff the booth. The father-daughter team raised hundreds of dollars.

“This was such a great opportunity for me to work together with my daughter and do something fun for the kids at Longfellow Elementary. London and I were both on a mission to help get books into the hands of the kids that told entertaining stories that would capture their imagination and give them a lifelong love of reading. And don’t forget superhero comic books too!” Michael Lee, Reading Mentor 

Michael spoke with Ms. Bhakta, second grade teacher at Longfellow Elementary, to see what books her students would enjoy most in their classroom library. She suggested a variety of books—everything from classics by Dr. Seuss to “Say Something”, an empowering picture book published in 2019.

London and Michael went shopping and purchased dozens of books for the classroom libraries in both second grade classes. Michael delivered the books during a Lead to Read KC reading session. The students and teachers were thrilled to receive so many brand new books! 

“I am so grateful for Michael Lee and his daughter’s donation to Second Grade at Longfellow Elementary. I have struggled to find books that are of high interest and on level for my students; however, with this donation my kids are becoming active readers along with their Lead to Read Buddies! Thank You!” Priya Bhakta, Second Grade Teacher, Longfellow Elementary

Michael Lee shares the book donation with Lead to Read KC students at Longfellow Elementary.


Building community is an extension of building literacy. On behalf of Lead to Read KC and our students and teaching partners at Longfellow Elementary, many thanks to Michael and London!  

Want to learn how you can support Lead to Read KC’s program at one of our partner schools? Contact Pauly Hart. 

Want to become a Lead to Read KC Reading Mentor? Learn more.

Categories: Blog

A little reading makes a big difference

Leah Giangregorio (Teacher at Hope Leadership Academy), J and Don Maxey (Reading Mentor)

Reading Mentor Don Maxey recently shared this story about his experience volunteering with Lead to Read KC: 

“Each Wednesday over my lunch break, I get to hang with my new buddy and friend J at Hope Leadership Academy. I help mentor J as his reading buddy through Lead to Read KC.  How lucky am I? I have never mentored as a reading buddy before, and to my delight I got paired up with J. 

In my life, I have not encountered a more fulfilling opportunity where I give such a short amount of time and am so richly rewarded. The true heroes are the teachers who work with these kids every day–but this is a chance to help support them in their mission, mentor a child, and make a new friend!” ~ Don Maxey, Lead to Read KC Reading Mentor from Hallmark 

Ms. Leah Giangregorio, J’s teacher at Hope Leadership Academy, shared this: 

“Each Wednesday, Mr. Don comes to read with J. Mr. Don was ready to jump in and help J in any way possible. It has been so refreshing watching their relationship grow every week. Before, J didn’t show much interest in school. Now, he loves coming to school on Wednesdays and loves when it’s time for Lead to Read KC. That’s all due to J’s time with Mr. Don. Mr. Don makes him feel like such an excellent reader and even shares his personal life with J, which makes J feel like they are best buddies. I am so thankful for reading mentors like Mr. Don who help make my job easier as a teacher.”        ~ Ms. Leah Giangregorio, First Grade Teacher, Hope Leadership Academy

Thank you to Mr. Don and Ms. Giangregorio for your dedication and for sharing this heartwarming story! 

Lead to Read KC volunteers are more than reading buddies. They are mentors, cheerleaders, and friends–caring, dependable adults in the lives of students.

Want to become a Lead to Read KC Reading Mentor? Learn more

Categories: Blog, Uncategorized

Major Darren Ivey of KCPD – Working with students who have experienced trauma

This Reader training resource is great for all Readers, all adults who work with children who have experienced trauma. Thanks for such fantastic community partners who help us provide and produce materials like this for our volunteers!


Lead to Read KC Receives Independent 501c3 Designation

Dear Community Partner:

We are pleased to announce that Lead to Read KC has received its own 501c3 designation, positioning us to even better serve Kansas City students who are living in compromised socioeconomic situations. Lead to Read KC will be expanding its board of directors to guide us in raising funds and developing our organization so that we can maximize our service to Kansas City children. lead to read kc, kansas city literacy, mentoring kansas city
lead to read kc, kansas city literacy, mentoring kansas city  


Recently, Lead to Read KC was among the literacy organizations that helped Kansas City earn The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading’s “All-American City Award” for its efforts to improve early literacy, an initiative promoted by Turn the Page KC.



Lead to Read KC began its reading crusade six years ago; we have served more than 2,000 students and engaged thousands of adults in improving third grade literacy. Working with limited funds and staffing, Lead to Read KC has been the boots on the ground in the city-wide effort to improve reading skills in our urban core. And along the way, we have developed a volunteer organization that has endeared itself to dozens of businesses and organizations in Kansas City.

Our commitment is real, our success is remarkable and with your help, our possibilities are endless!


lead to read kc, kansas city literacy, mentoring

Thank you for your ongoing support of Lead to Read KC. 

Together we are creating a community of readers, one lunch hour at a time.

Final Session for 2016-17 School Year

Below are the final reading dates for Lead to Read KC. As part of our end-of-year reading celebrations, we will

have books, ice cream and ice cream trucks in some locations. Stay tuned for details. We are already planning

for next school year, and we’re counting on you to join us! Please make note of your last day of reading, which

is also the date for your end-of-year reading celebration.

  • Banneker Elementary, Wednesday, May 3
  • Boone Elementary, Thursday, May 4
  • Crossroads Academy, Thursday, May 11
  • Garcia Elementary, Tuesday, April 25
  • Garfield Elementary, Wednesday, May 10 and Thursday May 11
  • Hope Leadership Academy, Wednesday, May 10
  • Indian Creek Elementary, Wednesday and Thursday, April 26 & 27
  • King Elementary Tuesday, April 25, Wednesday April 26 and Thursday, April 27
  • Longfellow Elementary, Thursday, May 4
  • Phillips @ Attucks, Tuesday, May 2
  • Troost Elementary, Wed May 3 and Thurs, May 4
  • Whittier Elementary Tuesday, May 9
Categories: Blog, blog

Welcome our School Engagement Coordinator!

fullsizerEllen Donaldson is our new School Engagement Coordinator. She will be working closely with teachers and volunteers to facilitate reading sessions. Her entire thirty year teaching career was spent in the Grandview School District educating first and second graders.  She has a  Masters Degree from UMKC in Reading Instruction. She taught more than 600 students how to read during her career as a elementary school teacher.  Ellen is excited to work with students, teachers, and volunteers to help improve third grade literacy in our community.  

If you need tips for reading with your student,  book title suggestions, or if you’re a teacher or site coordinator with questions – email her at [email protected]

Check out her first “Reader Tip Sheet” here!

Categories: Blog

NO Reading on the following…

Boone Elementary

  • October 20th
  • October 27th
  • November 24th

Indian Creek Elementary

  • October 27th
  • November 23rd
  • November 24th

Troost Elementary

  • October 20th
  • November 23rd
  • November 24th

King Elementary

  • October 20th
  • November 23rd
  • November 24th

Longfellow Elementary

  • October 20th
  • November 24th

Garfield Elementary

  • October 20th (Thursday)
  • November 23rd
  • November 24th

Hope Leadership Academy

  • October 26th
  • November 23rd

Phillips @ Attucks

  • November 23rd




Categories: Blog

2016 Fall Launch boasts 899 Readers…

We are excited to have added many new Readers & community partners to the Lead to Read KC team this fall.

Across Kansas City we have 48 classes in 12 partner schools, bringing our actual total number of Readers to 899.  

We say, it’s one Reader at a time that makes a difference…can’t wait to have that 900th Reader officially launch!

Thanks to the following businesses and organizations for partnering with Lead to Read KC.

American Century Investments
Baker Sterchi Cowden Rice LLC
Black & Veatch
Bryan Cave
Burns & McDonnell
Caring for Kids
Central Bank of Kansas City
Chick Fil A
Colonial Presbyterian Church
Commerce Bank
Country Club Bank
Cremalab LLC
DST Systems
Freedom Fire
Freedom Works
Henderson Engineers
Husch Blackwell
Kansas City Police Department
Lead Bank
McAnany, Van Cleave & Phillips (MVP) Law firm
Miller Group
Service Management Group (SMG)
St. Peter’s Catholic Parish
Turn the Page KC
UMB Bank
Wagstaff and Cartmell

Want to have your business listed here?  Contact us to find out how.

Categories: Blog