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Here’s a sobering fact – Nearly one third of Florida’s third graders attending public school cannot read at minimally proficient levels. And, sadly, those children are four times more likely to drop out of high school. United Way of Manatee County as part of our efforts to fight for Education, Financial Stability and Health and introduced ReadingPals into Title 1 schools.

ReadingPals is an early literacy initiative for children Voluntary Pre-kindergarten and Kindergarten. The program focuses on ensuring children are exposed to the wonders of reading and are more likely to progress on their learning to read journey. Volunteers are paired with one or two students to read a physical book that the child takes home to build their home library. The next session, the ReadingPal works with the child on an electronic device using a child friendly reading program that contains books in English and Spanish with literacy rich activities. It allows the teachers to monitor each child’s progress.

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 in 6 Title 1 schools.

If you are ready to make a difference in a child’s life, click here.