Volunteering just one hour of your time a week to read to a child makes a lifelong impact — in their life and yours.

ReadingPals offers volunteers an opportunity to build meaningful relationships with young children in Florida, while helping them improve their social-emotional development and early literacy skills.

What Is ReadingPals?

ReadingPals is a volunteer-based early literacy initiative that provides mentors for students from Pre-K through 3rd grade who may need extra help, utilizing one-on-one or small group settings.

Why Is ReadingPals Important?

45% of children in Florida are not ready for Kindergarten1 and 43% of Florida students cannot read at a minimally proficient level by the end of third grade.2 Additionally, studies show that children with mentors are more confident and have fewer behavioral problems.3Early intervention and individualized attention gives students the best likelihood of success.

Interested in becoming a ReadingPal?

In Hillsborough and Pinellas

United Way Suncoast staff trains and deploys volunteer ReadingPals who commit to meet regularly, one-on-one, for one hour a week with a child over the course of a school year (including summer).  In Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties, ReadingPals is a guided program designed to assist students as they learn to read at schools and community sites. For more information on becoming a ReadingPal in Hillsborough or Pinellas Counties, click here.  

In Manatee

United Way Suncoast staff, in partnership with early learning educators, trains and deploys volunteer ReadingPals who dedicate their time to read with 1-2 students weekly for 30 weeks. In Manatee County, ReadingPals is a guided program that works closely with the classroom teacher to allow for individualization based on children’s specific needs. For more information on becoming a ReadingPal in Manatee County, click here.  

Click here for more information on Statewide ReadingPals and The Children's Movement of Florida.  

1. Florida Office of Early Learning (2018)
2. Florida Department of Education (2018)
3. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada (2013)


Manatee Area | 4215 Concept Ct, Bradenton, 34211 | 941.748.1313

Sarasota Area | 1800 2nd Street, Ste. 102, Sarasota, 34236 | 941.366.2686

Tampa Bay Area | 5201 W. Kennedy Blvd., Ste. 600, Tampa, 33609 | 813.274.0900

It is not recommended to use Internet Explorer for this website, as not all features are supported.