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 December 2021, we’ve distributed 1,119 books!

We’re also participating in community events and neighborhood festivals — and sharing tips for reading at home 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

  • Amethyst Place
  • Bai the Way Salon
  • Child Protection Center
  • Kansas City Police Department (KCPD) Headquarters Violent Crimes Waiting Room
  • KCPD Office of Community Complaints
  • KCPD Central, East, Metro, North, Shoal Creek and South Patrol Divisions
  • River of Refuge
  • Shear Madness Haircuts for Kids (Booth location)
  • Sheffield Place
  • Soulcentricitea
  • The Tailor of Kansas City
  • Trends GMC Barbershop
  • You Say Tomato

How Can You 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 Katherine at katherine@leadtoreadkc.org with questions or to get started today.

Here’s what our partners are saying: 

“When families hit our doors, it is always during a very traumatic time in their lives. To be able to offer them some measure of joy through a good book is invaluable. We are so very grateful for Lead to Read KC making this gift possible.”

— Lisa L. Mizell, President and CEO of Child Protection 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

“It takes an entire village to raise a child and promoting literacy is a valuable way to participate in that duty of nurturing the  minds of the youth in our community.”  

— Shaunika Cotton, Owner-Soulcentricitea

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

— Carl Dantzler, Owner-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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