LAKE CITY — Volunteers are needed for the United Way of Suwannee Valley's ReadingPals initiative.
The program, which kicked off in the fall of 2015, is designed to help students who are not reading at grade level. The ReadingPals program targets kindergarten students to build literacy skills before they reach third grade, when they take the important Florida Standards Assessments test in language arts. Students who are not proficient in third-grade reading can be held back, in accordance with state law.
ReadingPals is focused on enlisting, training and engaging volunteer "reading coaches" to increase the number of students who read at grade level by the end of third grade. Volunteers commit to at least one hour a week for 25 weeks in a local kindergarten setting reading to two children for 30 minutes each. We are in need of at least 200 volunteers for the upcoming school year. The program officially kicks off Aug. 26.
ReadingPals are paired with struggling students. The volunteer works 1-on-1 with their assigned student for the length of the program. Books and training materials are provided.
ReadingPals is sponsored by the United Way of Suwannee Valley, with grant funding provided by Carol and Barney Barnett, in partnership with the Children’s Movement of Florida. School districts that participate in ReadingPals are Columbia, Hamilton and Suwannee counties. Interested individuals may choose to volunteer at any of these locales.
For more information, contact the United Way’s ReadingPals coordinator at 386-752-5604, ext. 105, or ReadingPals@unitedwaysv.org.