Every year, ONE in FOUR students fails to graduate from high school on time.


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.

ReadingPals is managed by The Children’s Movement of Florida and administered through 17 United Ways — with the help of numerous community partners across the state.


United Way of the Big Bend is changing this statistic. Now in its seventh year, ReadingPals is continuing to work to improve the reading skills of students in Gadsden, Leon, and Madison Counties.

Last year, our ReadingPals volunteers read for 3,600 hours to over 200 students and gifted over 3,000 books!! As a result, more than 70% of our ReadingPals students achieved at least one years’ worth of reading growth from Fall 2016 to Spring 2017.


ReadingPals relies on hundreds of volunteers every year to read one-to-one with students who have been identified as struggling readers.

  • Mentors are matched one-to-one with students in kindergarten, first, or second grades

  • Mentors report during the after school setting for one hour a week during the school year

  • Mentors choose the school and the day that best fit their schedule

  • Mentors utilize a curriculum created by LCS District and UWBB that is tailored to children’s reading needs

  • Mentors present each student with a brand new book every week

  • Mentors receive training from UWBB and the school district (includes background screening)

Click on the cover for ReadingPals brochure and Official Statewide Q&A !


For more information and to register to become a ReadingPals volunteer, please contact Rebecca Weaver at 850-487-8091 or rebecca@uwbb.org.


ReadingPals Training Schedule 2019-2020


Aug 14th 1:00-3:00p                        Aug 16th 12:00-3:00p

Aug 16th 9:30-11:30a                      Aug 17th 9:00a-12:00p                     

Aug 21st 9:00-11:00a                        

Aug 24th 9:30-11:30a


ReadingPals School Schedule 2019-2020

Leon County:

  1. Apalachee Tapestry Magnet School of the Arts — Tuesday/Wednesday 3:30-4:30pm
  2. Astoria Park Elementary School — Tuesday 3:30-4:30pm
  3. Bond Elementary School — Wednesday 3:30-4:30pm
  4. Desoto Trail Elementary School — Tuesday 3:45-4:45pm
  5. Fort Braden School — Wednesday 3:00-4:00pm
  6. Hartsfield Elementary School — Tuesday/Wednesday 3:30-4:30pm
  7. Hawks Rise Elementary School — Tuesday/Wednesday 3:00-4:00pm
  8. Killearn Lakes Elementary School — Tuesday 3:00-4:00pm
  9. Oakridge Elementary — Monday 1:45-2:45pm
  10. Pineview Elementary — Wednesday 3:30-4:30pm
  11. Riley Elementary School — Tuesday 12:20-1:30pm
  12. Roberts Elementary School — Wednesday 3:00-4:00pm
  13. Ruediger Elementary School — Tuesday/Thursday 4:30-5:30pm
  14. Sabal Palm Elementary School — Wednesday 8:45-9:45am
  15. Sealey Elementary School — Tuesday/Wednesday 4:30-5:30pm
  16. Woodville Elementary School — Thursday 3:30-4:30pm
  17. WT Moore Elementary School — Wednesday 3:30-4:30pm

Gadsden County:

  1. Greensboro Elementary — Tuesday 2:00-3:00pm

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.

Getting Involved

Interested but aren’t sure you can give a full-time commitment? Here are other ways to get involved with ReadingPals:

  • Be an Alternate– A ReadingPals Alternate serves as a “substitute” when a full-time ReadingPal cannot be there to read with their student. Alternates have the flexibility to go when it fits in their schedule.
  • Deliver books– Each week, ReadingPals students take home a brand new book. We need help getting the books from our office to the different ReadingPals sites.
  • Put sponsor stickers on books– Each take-home book has a personal label that allows the student to write their name in their book, as well as see all the sponsors who make ReadingPals possible. Every book (last year alone we gave out over 3,000 books!) must have a sticker in it! This is a great opportunity for large groups/companies.
  • Assemble holiday and special projects– During special times of the year, students receive small projects/kits as gifts for their hard work (i.e. holidays, end of the year, or just because). This is another great opportunity for large groups/companies.

For more information about becoming a ReadingPals mentor and RSVP for a mentor training, please contact Rebecca Weaver at 850-487-8091 or rebecca@uwbb.org.