Stay Up-to-Date:

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 nearly 84,000 new, culturally and developmentally appropriate books to 30,000 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 a book, handouts, and activity sheets to help the child and family prepare for a successful transition into kindergarten.

Reach Out and Read Works - Key Findings

Parents served by Reach Out and Read are up to 2.5 times more likely to read aloud to their children.

Reach Out and Read reaches the child through effectively teaching the parent to start lifelong learning in the home.

During the preschool years, children served by Reach Out and Read score three to six months ahead of their non-Reach Out and Read peers on vocabulary tests. These early foundational language skills help start children on a path of success when they enter school.

In the Kansas City area, 66% of parents of children 6 months to 5 years old reported reading to their child 3 more times per week and 100% of this group said they will share books either as frequently or more, based on the advice they received that day.

The Research

What distinguishes Reach Out and Read from other interventions is its large and growing evidence base. Since 1991, the Reach Out and Read model has been studied by academic investigators in a variety of settings, providing an extensive body of peer-reviewed research on the effects of the program. The body of published research supporting the efficacy of the Reach Out and Read model is more extensive than for any other psychosocial intervention in general pediatrics. Review the research findings here.

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 over 50 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 18th year of service, Reach Out and Read Kansas City has distributed more than 900,000 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 (recently moved to 9140 Ward Parkway Suite 201, KCMO 64114)
  3. Brookside Family Medical Group
  4. Children's Mercy at Operation Breakthrough
  5. Children's Mercy Pediatric Care Center
  6. Children's Mercy Special Care Clinics
  7. Children's Mercy West
  8. Cockerell & McIntosh Pediatrics - Blue Springs
  9. Cockerell & McIntosh Pediatrics - Independence
  10. Goppert-Trinity Family Care Center
  11. Grain Valley Family Medical Care
  12. Health Partnership Clinic - Shawnee Mission
  13. Health Partnership Clinic - Olathe
  14. Growing Futures Early Education Center (formerly Head Start)
  15. Health Partnership Clinic - Paola Clinic
  16. Heartland Primary Care
  17. Jackson County Health Department of Blue Springs
  18. Jackson County Health Department of Buckner
  19. Jackson County Health Department of Grain Valley
  20. Jackson County Health Department of Grandview
  21. Jackson County Health Department of Greenwood
  22. Jackson County Health Department of Independence
  23. Jackson County Health Department of Lee's Summit
  24. Jackson County Health Department of Lone Jack
  25. Jackson County Health Department of Raytown
  26. Jackson County Health Department of Oak Grove
  27. Johnson County Health Department of Olathe
  28. Johnson County Health Department of Mission
  29. KU Center for Child Health and Development
  30. KU Family Medicine
  31. KU JayDoc Free Clinic
  32. KU Pediatrics
  33. KU Prairie Village
  34. KU Silver City Health Center
  35. KU Neonatal Medical Home
  36. Leavenworth County Health Department
  37. Mercy and Truth Medical Missions (Shawnee)
  38. Midtown Family Medicine
  39. Platte County Health Department
  40. Project Eagle Health Clinic
  41. Samuel U. Rodgers Health Center
  42. Samuel U. Rodgers Health Center-Cabot Westside
  43. Southwest Boulevard Family Health Center
  44. Swope Health Central
  45. Swope Health West
  46. Swope Health Wyandotte
  47. T.P. Children & Teens Care
  48. Tenney Pediatrics & Adolescents
  49. Truman Medical Center - Center for Family Health
  50. Truman Medical Center - Lakewood
  51. Turner House Children's Clinic
  52. Wyandotte Pediatrics

Interactive Map

Our Community Partners

Community Partners:

  1. Blue Valley Academy
  2. Blue Valley CAPS Program
  3. C3// Creative Consumer Concepts
  4. Dr. Seuss Enterprises
  5. Higher Link
  6. Johnson County Public Library
  7. Junior League of Kansas City
  8. Kansas City Public Library
  9. Kansas University Endowment Association
  10. KC Star
  11. KCPT
  12. KCUMB
  13. Lions Club
  14. Literacy KC
  15. Mid Continent Public Library
  16. Parents As Teachers
  17. Park University
  18. Primrose School of Overland Park
  19. Project Change
  20. Rockhurst University
  21. Shawnee Mission Theatre in the Park
  22. Silpada Designs-Sharon Ell and Show Me Silver
  23. Sporting KC
  24. St. Mary's
  25. Talk Read Play Campaign
  26. The Kansas City/Shawnee Mission Pi Beta Phi Alumnae Club
  27. Turn the Page KC-AmeriCorps VISTA Program
  28. UMB Bank
  29. UMKC
  30. Washburn University
  31. Whole Foods
  32. Wyandotte Country Early Childhood Interagency Coordinating Council

Our Staff and Community Council

Reach Out and Read Kansas City Community Council:

  1. Lynn Hardy, Chair, Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate, Kansas City Homes

  2. Marshaun Butler, Children's Mercy South

  3. Jenny Gunter, Midwest Pallet, Inc.

  4. David Lowe, Volunteer reader

  5. Susanne Mahoney, Kansas City, KS School District

  6. Mary Jo Williams, Kansas University Endowment Association

  7. Larissa Grantham, Stepp & Rothwell, Inc.

  8. Lisa Riojas, MD, CMH - West

  9. Monica Tiffany, Merrigan & Co.

  10. Cathy McCaddon, KeyBank Real Estate.

  11. Gharib Gharibi, University of Missouri Kansas City

  12. Mary Olive Thompson, , Kansas City Public Library

  13. Kathleen Johansen, Junior League of Kansas City, MO

  14. Elizabeth Vasquez , Health Partners Olathe

  15. Ashley Bieck, UnitedHealthcare