ReadingPals Program



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.  In Escambia County, volunteers help 4-year-old pre-kindergarten students build strong early literacy skills necessary for kindergarten success. 

ReadingPals offers volunteers the opportunity to build meaningful relationships with young children in Florida while helping them improve their social-emotional development and early literacy skills. Managed by The Children's Movement of Florida, this program is offered across the state through 17 local United Ways and numerous community partners across the state. United Way of West Florida has partnered with Every Child a Reader in Escambia (ECARE) to expand the local ReadingPals Program to 5 area schools. ReadingPals is made possible by the Barnett family, Publix Super Markets Charities, and The Children’s Movement of Florida.

During the 2018-19 school year, 233 volunteers served a total of 4,336 hours with ReadingPals, for a $107,060 impact on our community. Join us today as we prepare our students for a better future. 



  • 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. 



200 volunteers are needed to serve one hour per week or 25 hours total with a student during the 2019-20 school year. ReadingPals volunteers will use themed literacy kits to engage independently with a student in age-appropriate learning activities.

Volunteers will receive mentor training and ongoing support. A Level II background screening paid for by United Way is required. Volunteers must be 18 years old, and smoke, tobacco, and nicotine free while serving as a ReadingPal. 



  • C.A. Weis Elementary School - 2701 N. Q Street, Pensacola, Fl 32505
  • Global Learning Academy - 100 N. P Street, Pensacola, Fl 32505
  • Lincoln Park Elementary - 7600 Kershaw Street, Pensacola, Fl 32534
  • Montclair Elementary School - 820 Massachusetts Avenue, Pensacola, Fl 32505
  • O.J. Semmes Elementary School - 1250 E Texar Drive, Pensacola, Fl 32503
  • West Pensacola Elementary School - 801 N. 49th Avenue, Pemsacola, Fl 32506


Ready to volunteer?

Get connected today by emailing Have questions about the program? Contact Education Outreach and Volunteer Manager, Kristy Craig at or (850) 912-8176.