Why We Do It

It’s simple. Children who can read proficiently by third grade will be more successful in school.

  • In Kansas City, nearly 60 percent of low-income third graders are reading below grade level. And in many of our urban core schools, as many as 75 percent of students are reading below grade level.
  • Students who can’t read by third grade are four times more likely to drop out of high school.
  • Eighty-five percent of youth in the juvenile justice system are functionally illiterate.

“If we can reduce the dropout rate by helping kids improve their reading skills, lives will be transformed and our city will be positively changed,” says Jean Rundle, co-founder of Lead to Read.

“The personal involvement of reading with children not only encourages them, but will ultimately raise graduation rates in urban school districts. By directly helping these kids receive a high school education, you can help them change their lives and ultimately the community.”

Lead to Read KC is dedicated to improving the basic literacy skills of children in our urban core. Launched in 2011, we connect nearly 1,100 elementary students with adult reading mentors in more than 50 urban classrooms across the metropolitan area each week.

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