Reading Is Everywhere

Mother and children at Park(ING) Day Festival Event

Reading is EverywhereSM is Lead to Read KC’s community book distribution initiative that encourages children to read wherever they are. We strategically place baskets of books in places where children are often waiting. A full listing of our partner locations is below.

We encourage children to take their favorite book home and for caregivers to take a book to a child in their life. Each month, Lead to Read KC replenishes the baskets with new books. As of July 2022, we’ve distributed 3,033 books!

We’re also participating in community events and neighborhood festivals — and sharing tips for raising a reader with caregivers. 

Why? 

School-age children and youth spend 80 percent of their waking hours outside of school.* According to The Literacy Project, reading and being read to have an impact beyond just hearing stories, but 61 percent of families in under-resourced neighborhoods have no books for the children in their homes. Lead to Read KC is working to improve those numbers.

The more a student reads, the more likely they will achieve success in school — and in life. If a child reads for 20 minutes every day, they are exposed to about 1.8 million words of text every year!** And a separate study involving almost 10 million students showed only those reading at least 15 minutes a day achieved accelerated reading gains. Those reading less were at risk of falling behind their peers.

“Reading happens everywhere, not just in school. That’s why Lead to Read KC is expanding its book distribution program to reach children and parents where they are. Sometimes that means while they are living in transitional housing, waiting for an appointment or running errands with their parents. We hope by placing books at key locations in the city, children will begin to adopt the habit of reading wherever they may be — not just in school.” 

— Pauly Hart, Lead to Read KC Executive Director 

Lead to Read KC is working hard to improve children’s literacy skills and to increase awareness among caregivers about the importance of reading in children’s lives. 

Reading Is Everywhere Partners

(Click to see a map of our locations as of November 2022)

  • Amethyst Place
  • Bai the Way Salon
  • The Borough
  • ChenMed
  • Child Protection Center
  • Children’s Place
  • Chop Tops Hair Company
  • Draque’s Barbershop
  • Early StART Preschools (St. Mark’s and Metro locations)
  • Equal Minded Cafe
  • Foreign Language Academy Little Free Library
  • Grace United Church Food Pantry
  • Holmes Gardens Little Free Library
  • Joe’s Barbershop
  • KCMO Health Department, Vaccine and Lead Safe Clinics
  • Kansas City Police Department (KCPD) Headquarters Violent Crimes Waiting Room
  • KCPD Office of Community Complaints
  • KCPD East, Metro, North, Shoal Creek and South Patrol Divisions
  • McLain’s Bakery
  • Midtown Laundry
  • Mimi’s Pantry
  • MO Hives KC Little Free Library
  • New Life City Church Food Pantry
  • One City Cafe at Bishop Sullivan Center
  • River of Refuge
  • Ruby Jean’s Juicery (Troost location)
  • Salvation Army East Side
  • Seton Center
  • Shear Madness Haircuts for Kids (Booth location)
  • Sheffield Place
  • Trends GMC Barbershop
  • Wyandotte Family EyeCare Center
  • You Say Tomato
  • Your Natural Image Salon

How You Can Help

We want to get even more books out into the Kansas City community! Do you know an organization we could partner with — to either receive a book donation or help us distribute books? Or are you interested in hosting a book drive? Read our Book Donation Guidelines to learn more, or contact Linda at linda@leadtoreadkc.org with questions or to get started today.

Here’s what our partners are saying: 

“It is really hard for me to convey in words what a blessing the books you provide are to the children who come to One City Cafe. They don’t have much materially, and it brings the most amazing smiles to their faces when they get to choose a book, whatever they want, for free, to keep! We have older siblings reading to younger ones and parents helping struggling readers. The easy readers are a true gift.”

— Jackie O’Brien, Volunteer, One City Cafe at Bishop Sullivan Center

“We are very thankful for our partnership with ‘Lead to Read’ for many reasons, one of them is their tireless efforts to support literacy within our community.  The gift of books for kids to read while waiting in our waiting room, through their reading is everywhere initiative, goes a long way to helping build relationships with those we are serving.”

— Sergeant Jake Becchina, KCPD

“I feel the books being in the barbershops — mine especially — gives the kids choices while they wait for their services.”

— Carl Dantzler, Owner of Trends GMC Barbershop

Learn More

Check out these news stories from Kelly Eckerman of KMBC 9 News:

Literacy program finds new ways to get books into children’s lives  (Aug. 25, 2021)

Lead to Read KC expands to partner with local businesses in Kansas City  (Oct. 11, 2021)

*Youth.gov

**KidsConnect

Client and proprietor at Trends GMC Barbershop
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