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About Reach out and Read Kansas City

About Us

How would you feel if you grew up unable to enjoy a bed time story? In Kansas City's lowest income neighborhoods, research estimates only one book is owned, in the home, per 300 children. Reach Out and Read Kansas City is doing all we can to bridge this gap so that all children in the Kansas City area have a book to call their own.

Each year, Reach Out and Read Kansas City provides 65,210 new, culturally and developmentally appropriate books to 26,000 low income children, birth to age 5, during well-child visits at our partner clinic sites, building a 15-book library for each child before he or she enters kindergarten.

Reach Out and Read Kansas City is a nonprofit program in partnership with the Kansas University Endowment at the University of Kansas Medical Center and a member of the national Reach Out and Read Program.

Our Mission

Reach Out and Read gives young children a foundation for success by incorporating books into pediatric care and encouraging families to read aloud together.

Our Programs

Reach Out and Read Kansas City has three programs to ensure as many children as possible in the Kansas City area are provided with books of their own, and enter school ready to succeed.

  1. School Readiness Program Reach Out and Read Kansas City makes literacy promotion a standard part of pediatric care so that children grow up with access to books and engaged parents, and enter school ready to learn. Starting at birth through age five, doctors incorporate a book and the importance of reading into routinely scheduled well-child checkups utilizing three components: (1) counseling parents about the importance of reading aloud to their young children every day; (2) giving the child a free, new developmentally and culturally appropriate children's book to take home during their well-child checkup; (3) creating literacy-rich waiting rooms with volunteer readers, reading corners, and books.

  2. Hooked on Books Program Every spring, Reach Out and Read Kansas City challenges elementary and middle schools to compete in the Hooked on Books city-wide book drive. All books collected from Hooked on Books are distributed to disadvantaged children in the Kansas City area.

  3. Kindergarten Book Bag Program At the four-year-old well-child visit, each Reach Out and Read Kansas City participant receives a book bag with two books, handouts, and activity sheets to help the child and family prepare for a successful transition into kindergarten.

Our History

Reach Out and Read Kansas City began in 1997 as a collaboration between pediatricians at Children's Mercy and KU Pediatrics at KU Medical Center. Since then, it has grown to a coalition of 37 health care clinics in the greater Kansas City metro, with an emphasis on serving our community's most vulnerable children. Reach Out and Read Kansas City is affiliated with two national literacy programs: Reach Out and Read National Center and Reading Is Fundamental.

Now in our 24th year of service, Reach Out and Read Kansas City has distributed more than one million new books to children and families in need and continues to grow and expand the reach of our program. 



Major Supporters

Reach Out and Read Kansas City Major Supporters:

  1. All About Books
  2. Barnes and Noble-Town Center
  3. Children's Mercy
  4. First Book National Book Bank
  5. Francis Family Foundation
  6. H & R Block Foundation
  7. Hall Family Foundation
  8. Hartley Family Foundation
  9. KU Medical Center
  10. Mader Foundation
  11. Midwest Pallet Incorporated
  12. Morgan Family Foundation
  13. Pamela Miller and Michael Cummings
  14. Pi Beta Phi Foundation
  15. Scholastic
  16. Shumaker Family Foundation
  17. Target
  18. Usborne Books
  19. Walsh Family Foundation
  20. Walton Family Foundation

Clinic Partners

  1. Argentine Family Care
  2. Baby & Child Associates
  3. Children's Mercy at Operation Breakthrough
  4. Children's Mercy Pediatric Care Center
  5. Children's Mercy Special Care Clinics
  6. Cockerell & McIntosh Pediatrics - Blue Springs
  7. Cockerell & McIntosh Pediatrics - Higginsville
  8. Cockerell & McIntosh Pediatrics - Independence
  9. Goppert-Trinity Family Care Center
  10. Grain Valley Family Medical Care
  11. Health Partnership Clinic - Shawnee Mission
  12. Health Partnership Clinic - Olathe
  13. Health Partnership Clinic - Paola
  14. Jackson County Health Department of Independence
  15. KU Center for Child Health and Development
  16. KU Family Medicine
  17. KU Pediatrics
  18. KU Prairie Village
  19. KU Neonatal Medical Home
  20. Leavenworth County Health Department
  21. Mercy and Truth Medical Missions (Shawnee)
  22. Midtown Family Medicine
  23. Platte County Health Department
  24. Samuel U. Rodgers Health Center
  25. Samuel U. Rodgers Health Center-Cabot Westside
  26. Family Health Care 
  27. Southwest Boulevard Family Health Center
  28. Swope Health Central
  29. Swope Health West
  30. Swope Health Wyandotte
  31. Tenney Pediatrics & Adolescents
  32. Truman Medical Center - Center for Family Health
  33. Truman Medical Center - Lakewood
  34. Vibrant Health-Argentine, Central, Children's Campus 
  35. Vibrant Health Cordell-Meeks

Interactive Map

Our Community Partners

Community Partners:

  1. AmeriCorps VISTA Program
  2. Blue Valley CAPS Program
  3. Higher Link
  4. Johnson County Public Library
  5. Junior League of Kansas City
  6. Kansas City Public Library
  7. Kansas University Endowment Association
  8. KC Star
  9. Literacy KC
  10. Mid-Continent Public Library
  11. Parents As Teachers
  12. Park University
  13. Primrose School of Overland Park
  14. St. Mary's University
  15. The Family Conservancy
  16. The Kansas City/Shawnee Mission Pi Beta Phi Alumnae Club
  17. Turn the Page KC
  18. UMKC

Our Staff and Advisory Board

Reach Out and Read Kansas City Advisory Board:

Eli Colmenero, Chair, MarksNelson

Ben Gebhards, Vice Chair, Humana

Neesha Hitchcock, Past Chair, Children's Mercy South Hospital

Derek Gale, Jewish Federation of Greater Kansas City

Kelly Jernigan, Commerce Trust Company

Kathleen Johansen, University of Kansas Health System

Paula Matthews, Hallmark Cards

Cathy McCaddon, Funding Chair,  Retired, KeyBank Real Estate

Monica Tiffany, Marketing Chair, Merrigan & Co.

Truss Tyson, Finance Chair, KeyBank Real Estate Capital

Elizabeth Vasquez, Health Partners Olathe

Tanya Rodecker-Wendt, Of Counsel at Wendt Law Firm, P.C.

AbdulRasak Yahaya, Membership Chair, Open Minds Child Development Center