What is ReadingPals? 

ReadingPals is a statewide early literacy initiative that provides volunteer mentors for students from Voluntary Prekindergarten (VPK) to 3rd grade who may need extra help, utilizing one-on-one or small group settings.  This opportunity extends to volunteers in Okaloosa and Walton Counties who can help children improve their social-emotional development and early literacy skills. ReadingPals is managed by The Children’s Movement of Florida and is administered through 17 United Ways – with the help of numerous community partners across the state.

Why Is ReadingPals Important?

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

Where is ReadingPals Available?

Programs are offered in 27 counties via 17 local United Ways including the United Way Emerald Coast, and other community partners, with opportunities in more than 200 schools and childcare centers around the state. ReadingPals provides over 3,000 students every year with a mentor. This is all made possible thanks to the Barnett family’s passion for promoting literacy and early childhood development in Florida.

What Do We Hope To Achieve?

MENTORING: To build genuine, impactful relationships between students and our volunteer mentors.
EARLY LITERACY: To improve students’ understanding of the fundamental building blocks of early literacy.
SOCIAL-EMOTIONAL DEVELOPMENT: To help students build a strong social-emotional foundation through self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills and responsible decision-making.

For more information, please contact United Way Emerald Coast Education Coordinator Jackie Schulte: