Elle Moxley / KCUR

A national nonprofit organization that distributes books to children from low-income families made a stop in Kansas City Wednesday.

First Book is giving 300,000 titles donated by publisher Random House to Kansas City schools and literacy programs. Local partners Turn the Page KC and LINC are helping get the books to kids and teachers.

“One of the big factors in kids learning to read is access to books from a very young age,” says Mike English, executive director of Turn the Page KC. “Our goal is really to build home libraries for kids and families in low-income areas.”

Gov. Sam Brownback has unveiled an initiative aimed at improving reading proficiency in Kansas grade school students. The initiative will provide grant money for after-school reading programs. But the funding method is controversial.

The plan is to use $9 million from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program (TANF), to fund the reading initiative. Gov. Brownback says focusing on reading in children can pay long-term dividends.