You’re likely to enjoy it. They’re likely to graduate.

Children who are read to are more likely to become good readers. And children who read at grade level by the fourth grade are four times more likely to graduate from high school.

Become a ReadingPal.

ReadingPals is a United Way program where volunteers provide positive reinforcement and personal attention to a child (Preschool through 3rd grade) who would benefit from a little extra reading support. We aim to not only improve children’s reading skills, but also impart a love of reading.

In Manatee

We train and deploy volunteer “reading pals” who dedicate their time one hour a day, one day per week for 28 weeks to read to a child. This year ReadingPals is:

  • VPK and Kindergarten
  • 8 Title 1 schools, 14 classrooms
  • Emphasizes a love for reading while developing early learning skillsets to be able to learn how to read in the classroom
  • Guided program introducing letter and sight word recognition as well as social and emotional intelligence
  • Children take a book home weekly to add to home library; it is the same with which they have created positive memories reading with their mentor that week
  • Volunteers have the opportunity to work with a child on a bilingual, online program that is also provided to the families (Footsteps2Brilliance)
  • Work closely with the teachers in providing personalized feedback to ReadingPal mentors so they can target their child’s areas to grow

For more information or to sign up as a ReadingPal in Manatee, email or call 941.748.1313 .

Also create a volunteer profile on our Volunteer portal.

In Hillsborough and Pinellas

ReadingPals commit to meet regularly, one-on-one, for one hour a week with a child. As part of your time, ReadingPals volunteers read with students, listen to them read and play literacy games. Volunteer positions require a background screening and an orientation to prepare you to work with students. Orientations are held at our Tampa office every 2nd Thursday of the month from 1- 3 pm. We also host orientations at various sites in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties as well as a virtual orientation. Check our events calendar to find the next session, or contact us to view the virtual version. There are 6 after school sites to choose from across Hillsborough and Pinellas counties.

For more information and to submit interest in becoming a ReadingPal, contact Nicole Brown at or 813.274.0998.