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. During the 2022-2023 school year, we distributed more than 10,000 books!

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


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.” 

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. 

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 [email protected] with questions or to get started today.

Reading Is Everywhere Partners

(Click to see a map of our locations or download a flyer, as of April 2024)

  • Ameristar Casino Hotel
  • Amethyst Place
  • Bai the Way Salon
  • The Borough
  • Capital One Café
  • Children’s Mercy Broadway Family Engagement Clinic
  • The Children’s Place
  • Colonial Presbyterian Church Food Pantry (9500 Wornall Road)
  • Dedicated Senior Medical Center
  • Draque’s Barbershop
  • Early StART Preschools (St. Mark’s and Metro locations)
  • Equal Minded Cafe
  • Foreign Language Academy Little Free Library
  • Forest Glen Estates
  • Grace United Church Food Pantry
  • Gumby’s Barbershop
  • 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
  • Latinx Education Collaborative
  • Maple Hill Laundry
  • McLain’s Bakery (Gregory location)
  • Midtown Laundry
  • Mimi’s Pantry
  • Mimi’s 4 Kids
  • MO Hives KC Little Free Library
  • Mt. Carmel Redevelopment Corporation (Food Pantry and Willa Gill Center)
  • New Life City Church Food Pantry
  • Newhouse KC
  • One City Cafe at Bishop Sullivan Center
  • PH Coffee
  • Reconciliation Services
  • River of Refuge
  • Rose Brooks
  • Ruby Jean’s Juicery (Troost location)
  • Salvation Army East Side
  • Samuel U. Rodgers Health Center
  • Seton Center
  • Sheffield Place
  • St. Monica Catholic Church Food Pantry
  • Surr Cutts Barbershop
  • Swope Health (Central location)
  • Terrace Pointe Apartments
  • The Windmill KC
  • Trends GMC Barbershop
  • University Health Futures Clinic
  • Wyandotte Family EyeCare Center
  • Yogurtini on the Plaza
  • You Say Tomato
  • Your Natural Image Salon

Here’s what our partners are saying: 

“We turn inner city vacant lots into honeybee farms (apiaries). Lead to Read donated a free outdoor library and keeps it stocked with books about pollinators and the outdoors. Making our apiary a literacy location was the PERFECT next step. Community literacy lifts us all, and Lead to Read’s services are an indispensable part of our thriving community.”

— Dr. Marion Pierson, MO Hives KC

“Lead to Read fills the baskets with high-quality, high-interest books, showing their support for children regardless of their circumstance. Reading can provide comfort and a connection to school for children, and we appreciate their desire to help our families and children.”

— Lauren Clifton-Thompson, Amethyst Place

“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, KC Police Department

“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)



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