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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 25th year of service, Reach Out and Read Kansas City has distributed more than 1.3 million new books to children and families in need and continues to grow and expand the reach of our program. 

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Major Supporters

Reach Out and Read Kansas City Major Supporters:

  1. All About Books
  2. Baby and Child Associates
  3. Barnes and Noble
  4. Bliss Books & Wine
  5. Children's Mercy
  6. First Book National Book Bank
  7. Francis Family Foundation
  8. H & R Block Foundation
  9. Hall Family Foundation
  10. Hulston Family Foundation
  11. Humana, Inc.
  12. Kathy Palermo
  13. McGowan Foundation
  14. MarksNelson, LLC
  15. National Reach Out and Read
  16. Pamela Miller and Michael Cummings
  17. Pi Beta Phi Foundation
  18. Scholastic
  19. Sherman Family Foundation
  20. Shumaker Family Foundation
  21. The University of Kansas Health System - Pediatrics
  22. Truman Heartland Community Foundation - Jelley Family Foundation
  23. Usborne Books

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. Family Health Care
  10. Goppert-Trinity Family Care Center
  11. Grain Valley Family Medical Care
  12. Health Partnership Clinic - Shawnee Mission
  13. Health Partnership Clinic - Olathe
  14. Health Partnership Clinic - Paola
  15. Jackson County Health Department - Independence
  16. KU DBP
  17. KU Family Medicine
  18. KU Pediatrics
  19. KU Prairie Village
  20. KU Neonatal Medical Home
  21. Leavenworth County Health Department
  22. Mercy and Truth Medical Missions (Shawnee)
  23. Midtown Family Medicine
  24. Platte County Health Department
  25. Samuel U. Rodgers Health Center
  26. Samuel U. Rodgers Health Center-Cabot Westside
  27. Swope Health Central
  28. Swope Health West
  29. Swope Health Wyandotte
  30. Tenney Pediatrics & Adolescents
  31. University Health - Center for Family Health
  32. University Health- Lakewood
  33. Vibrant Health-Argentine
  34. Vibrant Health-Central
  35. Vibrant Health-Downtown
  36. Vibrant Health Cordell-Meeks


Our Community Partners

Community Partners:

  1. Church of the Resurrection Book Mobile
  2. Higher Link
  3. Johnson County Public Library
  4. Junior League of Kansas City, MO
  5. Kansas City Public Library
  6. Kansas and Missouri Schools
  7. Kansas University Endowment Association
  8. Literacy KC
  9. Mid-America Regional Council (MARC)
  10. Mid-Continent Public Library
  11. NonProfit Connect
  12. Operation Breakthrough
  13. Proof Positioning
  14. The Family Conservancy
  15. The Kansas City/Shawnee Mission Pi Beta Phi Alumnae Club
  16. Turn the Page KC
  17. UMKC
  18. William Jewel University

Our Staff and Advisory Board


Reach Out and Read Kansas City Advisory Board:

  1. Eli Colmenero, Board Chair, MarksNelson, LLC
  2. Ben Gebhards, Vice Chair, Humana
  3. Neesha Hitchcock, Past Chair, Children's Mercy
  4. Derek Gale, Funding Committee Chair, Jewish Federation of GKC
  5. Kelly Jernigan, Commerce Trust Company
  6. Kathleen Johansen, St. Vincent's Health System
  7. Paula Matthews, American Academy of Family Physicians
  8. Cathy McCaddon, Retired from KeyBank Real Estate
  9. Monica Tiffany, Marketing Committee Chair, Merrigan and Co.
  10. Truss Tyson, Finance Committee Chair, KeyBank Real Estate Capital
  11. Elizabeth Vasquez, PA, Kansas City Pediatrics
  12. Tanya Rodecker-Wendt, Of counsel at Wendt Law Firm, PC
  13. AbdulRasak Yahaya, Membership Committee Chair, Open Minds Child Development Center