What is ReadingPals?

ReadingPals is a statewide early literacy initiative that provides volunteer mentors for students from Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten (VPK) to 3rd grade who may need extra help, utilizing one-on-one or small group settings. ReadingPals offers volunteers an opportunity to build meaningful relationships with young children in Florida, while helping them improve their social-emotional development and early literacy skills. ReadingPals was designed by The Children's Movement of Florida and is currently administered through 17 United Ways with the help of numerous community partners across the state.
We offer programs in 27 counties via 17 local United Ways and other community partners, with virtual opportunities in more than 200 schools and childcare centers around the state. We provide more than 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.

Our goals are:

  1. Mentoring: To build genuine, impactful relationships between students and our volunteer mentors.
  2. Early Literacy: To improve students' understanding of the fundamental building blocks of early literacy.
  3. 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.
Approximately 212 students from five ReadingPals partner schools in Alachua County are not reading on grade level.
[Source: Florida Chamber Foundation, Florida Gap Map, 2021]
Help us work in collaboration with teachers, parents and local nonprofit partners to prepare 1st through 3rd graders for reading success!

Interested in becoming a ReadingPal?

Minimum Requirements:

  • 1 hour per week (16 to 25 hours for a single volunteer during fall and/or spring)
  • New Virtual Volunteer Training 
  • Level 2 Background Screening ($15 donation encouraged but not required. Please email the ReadingPals Coordinator to request payment coverage options.) 

Click for ReadingPals FAQs

"My ReadingPal's confidence has increased in reading and beyond!" - 2017 Volunteer
Our program runs each year from September to July
Fall: September to December
Spring: January to May
Summer: May to July

If you have any questions about ReadingPals, please email us at or call 352-900-2921.


Thank you to our partners:

ReadingPals Partner Logos