Make a Difference in a Child’s Life

Gregory and Jodelaine joined the ReadingPals program as kindergarteners at G.D. Rogers Garden Elementary School. ReadingPals volunteers provide positive reinforcement and personal attention to a child (VPK through Kindergarten) who is in Title 1 schools where children and teachers often benefit from extra reading support. Now, Gregory and Jodelaine are some of the more advanced readers in the secondary program called LearningPals, and have very positive memories of reading with their Pals through United Way Suncoast. Jodelaine even still has beloved books from her time in ReadingPals, like Llama Llama Red Pajama and Click Clack Moo.

LearningPals is a program for children (Kindergarten through 3rd grade) at Title 1 schools in Manatee County. The initiative focuses on helping children by practicing sight word recognition, reading fluency and comprehension. Launched in 2018, LearningPals is in six Manatee Title 1 schools and approximately 50 classrooms. The program aims to not only improve children’s reading skills, but also impart a love of reading and instill confidence in young readers.

For more information or to sign up as a ReadingPal in Manatee, email or call (941) 748-1313. To become a LearningPal volunteer, choose a preferred day and time for one hour per week. You will be matched with a classroom, after receiving instruction to confidently mentor students on key academics. Contact Cassandra Decker for more information at or at (941) 932-8261.

For more information or to sign up as a ReadingPal in Hillsborough or Pinellas, contact Nicole Brown at or (813) 274-0998.