Read from the Start

Children who grow up hearing stories and looking at books will fall in love with language. Read from the Start, MHC’s family reading initiative, is offered free of charge and empowers parents and caregivers to read to their young children.

RFTS (Read from the Start) participants have the opportunity to learn about high-quality children’s books and the importance reading has on a child’s future.  Participants may choose to receive a Literacy Kit, which includes 2-3 books, to aid in the literacy of young children. Participants will obtain the tools to successfully share exciting books and stories with their children.  

Children who grow up hearing stories and engaging with books have a better chance of falling in love with language and succeeding in school. Research shows that reading aloud is the single most important activity a caregiver can do to help a child prepare for reading and learning.  Read from the Start (RFTS), empowers parents and caregivers to read to their young children regularly- helping them form early habits that foster a lifelong love of reading.

"Read From the Start did a great job of teaching me that story time can be more about participation and conversation to edify my children’s education."
-RFTS participant at Gracemor Elementary

Request A Literacy Kit

Each literacy kit will include 2-3 books to aid families in teaching their young readers. The Literacy Kit Request Form will close once all resources have been exhausted. Kits will be mailed throughout April, May, and June 2023. Literacy kits are free, but we encourage donations to help cover shipping costs. 

Please note that materials are limited and will be shipped based on the order of requests received and book availability. One literacy kit will be provided per household. 

Virtual Resources

Reading and book by Local St. Louis Author, Mon Trice

Reading by Professional Storyteller, Carole E. Shelton 

Reading by Native American Storyteller, Suzanne Jones, and Melody Delmar

Reading by Professional Storyteller Sherry Norfolk

Reading by Professional Storyteller Brother John

Other Reading Resources


The Kansas City Public Library offers multimodal ways for children to engage with literature!

Dolly Parton's Imagination Library

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is a book gifting program that mails free, high-quality books to children from birth to age five, no matter their family’s income.

Little Free Library

Little Free Library book-sharing boxes play an essential role by providing 24/7 access to books (and encouraging a love of reading!) in areas where books are scarce. 

Netflix Bookmarks: Celebrating Black Voices

The Netflix Bookmarks series invites celebrities to read children’s books by Black authors. This series is available on Netflix, as well as for free on the Netflix Jr. YouTube page.

Read Aloud information

Because 15 minutes of reading aloud each day can change the face of education in this country.


Read from the Start is designed empower individual families and households. If you are seeking funds for your own literary program, visit our mini grants page and consider applying.