Led by Carol and Barney Barnett, a partnership with The Children’s Movement of Florida and Polk County Schools, ReadingPals is part of a statewide initiative to promote early literacy. The program encourages volunteerism to support the work of United Way. By reading to students and mentoring to make a difference in the life of child, ReadingPals is a strategy to increase the number of students reading on grade level by the end of 3rd grade.
Volunteers will commit to reading to students just one hour a week from September-May, at 12 partner elementary schools in Polk County. Volunteers will read a variety of classics and other books designed to build a student’s vocabulary, increase their confidence, and the reading level needed for academic success. Since 2012, United Way ReadingPals has engaged 309 volunteers who have worked with 978 kindergarten students in Polk and Highlands. With the ReadingPals project, a total of 4,000 hours have been invested to improve academic achievement –and a United Way partnership with local schools makes it possible to measure results. “We’re making progress. We’re proud to say ReadingPals students were promoted at a rate 6% higher than students with no reading pals,” says Penny Borgia, COO of United Way of Central Florida.
Research proves that kids with vocabulary skills needed by kindergarten have a better chance to succeed in school and life. “With more volunteers we can help more students stay on track for success,” says Hope Bogel, UWCF WLC Program Manager, ReadingPals, “in August, we need 200 volunteers for the upcoming school year to support our kids –and the goal of 2,000 ReadingPals statewide.”
To become a ReadingPals volunteer, contact Hope Bogel at United Way of Central Florida at 863.648.1500 ext 278 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
About United Way of Central Florida
A philanthropy leader locally and regionally, United Way of Central Florida understands local needs and drives sustainable change to build better lives and stronger communities. We focus in the areas of education, income and health because these are the building blocks for a good quality of life. We bring people and organizations together from all across the community –people with the passion and expertise to get things done. United Way leads and works collectively for solutions to our most pressing community needs.
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