Manatee County

United Way Suncoast staff, in partnership with early learning educators, trains and deploys ReadingPals volunteers who dedicate their time to read with 1-2 students weekly for 30 weeks. This year ReadingPals is in fourteen Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten classrooms at nine Title 1 Schools (view map).


  • In Kindergarten classrooms, volunteers read a new book each week with their Pal that they then take home to build their home library. This helps create positive memories associated with reading. They also use sight word activities and a tablet program called “Footsteps2Brilliance” to access additional books and literacy components.
  • In VPK classrooms, volunteers utilize pre-made kits that contain two books and corresponding literacy games targeting specific VPK needs. In some classrooms, volunteers also read a new book and utilize Footsteps as well.

Volunteer Experience

Volunteers emphasize a love for reading while helping children develop early learning skillsets that will allow them to learn to read in the classroom. ReadingPals is a guided program that works closely with the classroom teacher to allow for individualization based on children’s specific needs. In addition to developing strong mentorship and a love for reading, volunteers focus on letter and sight word recognition as well as developing social and emotional intelligence. ReadingPals also works closely with the Manatee County School District to reach parents and provide resources for home learning.

Ready to become a ReadingPal in Manatee County?  Click here for the online application, email receptionist@uwsuncoast.org or call 941.748.1313.

To become a ReadingPal in Hillsborough or Pinellas Counties, click here.


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

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