As we look ahead to the 2022-23 school year, we are also reflecting on the 2021-22 school year, which was unlike any in Lead to Read KC's 11-year history. 

Pandemic-related learning loss made it critical to continue to provide reading and mentoring support to our students – and to diversify our program to serve our students and community in new ways

Our Volunteers, Community Partners, Donors, School Partners and Staff stepped up in a big way. THANK YOU! With tremendous community support, we employed tried-and-true solutions and new ideas to continue serving children during this time of urgent need. 

Read on for a few highlights of what you helped us achieve in the 21-22 school year – and how you can help this fall
Lead to Read KC connected 553 students with 696 trusted, caring adult volunteers (called Reading Mentors) during the 2021-22 school year, through a mix of digital and in-person sessions.

Reading Mentors and students completed 8,345 reading mentoring sessions. This time together led to invaluable gains for students, including improved social skills and reading skills – and increased reading enjoyment.

“I’ve watched students go from only reading a few sight words to reading an entire book on their own. I knew I was making just as much of an impact on the student as they were on me when I received a thank you note saying, ‘Thank you for showing me love.’”

— Andrea Mulvany, Reading Mentor, Henderson Engineers


We could not do what we do without our Partner Schools! During the 2021-22 school year, we served students at 20 Partner Schools. And, 25 schools have requested our programs for 2022-23, the highest-ever demand.

Serving additional students requires recruiting and training hundreds of new Reading Mentors. Join us!
 
"Lead to Read KC's continued partnership with Brookside Charter School has created a positive impact at our school. Our students really look forward to reading with their mentors, even in a virtual setting. Lead to Read is so much more than reading; it's connecting the community to our school to create lasting partnerships."

— Roger Offield, Superintendent, Brookside Charter School
To support students’ social-emotional learning, and health and wellness, we expanded our Reading For Life Author Partnership program. Our Author Partners shared messages of resilience and empowerment with 1,032 students at 16 Partner Schools.

Thank you to our Partners Nikiyah Crosdale, Kristen Heath and Vladimir Sainte for promoting self-esteem and coping skills among our students!

“I am honored to be part of Lead to Read KC’s initiative and hope to be a reminder to kids to see themselves as heroes. Reading feeds imagination, creating a voyage of discovery on every page.”

— Vladimir Sainte, Licensed Clinical Social Worker


Thanks to our partnership with Hoot Reading, 515 students received online personalized tutoring from a certified teacher three times a week. Custom learning journeys resulted in 98 percent of students improving their reading skills by at least two levels and 51 students improved more than 10 levels.

Hoot Reading has been a lifeline for our students. The growth they have shown is amazing!! I am grateful for the opportunity to work with this program. It's been worth every penny and every minute of instructional time.”

— Lakeisha Paul, Principal, George Melcher Elementary, KCPS

Through your generosity, we distributed 10,602 books across the metro – through Read for 15 with Patrick Mahomes, author visits, book giveaways to students and teachers, and Reading is EverywhereSM.

Reading Is EverywhereSM is our new Community Book Distribution initiative, launched to to encourage children to read wherever they may be. Over the past year, we distributed more than 2,000 books at community events and in 34 locations across Kansas City. Books are now available at social service agencies, hair salons, barber shops, restaurants and retailers! 

“It is really hard for me to convey 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."

– Jackie O'Brien, Volunteer, One City Cafe at Bishop Sullivan Center

Thank you for helping the children we serve build a brighter future! We have closed the book on 2021-22, but there’s so much more to do in 2022-23.

You can help:

  • Start your next chapter as a volunteer! If you've been a Reading Mentor in a prior school year, there’s no need to reapply. View our 2022-23 schedule, then email Hayley your preferred reading session(s). New to our program? Apply today.  
  • Recruit a new Reading Mentor and join us for Happy Hour at Ludo's Shuffleboard Bar on August 16 from 5-7 p.m. Learn more.
  • Host a "Friend Raiser" to recruit new Reading Mentors. Email Hayley to learn more.
11 years of creating a community of readers, one lunch hour at a time.