United Way of Central Florida’s ReadingPals program just reached 200 active volunteers!

A child who starts behind, stays behind and may never graduate from high school. ReadingPals, a UWCF initiative, helps students establish a foundation for reading by improving vocabulary, listening skills, comprehension and visual and auditory memory.

Thank you so much to all of our amazing volunteers who take the time to make such a powerful impact in these children’s lives.

Since 2012, ReadingPals has been funded by Carol and Barney Barnett. Starting with 10 regions, they are now funding ReadingPals initiatives at 15 United Way’s across the state.

The initiative focuses on engaging, training and deploying volunteer “ReadingPals” to increase the number of students reading at grade level by the end of third grade.

ReadingPals are asked to volunteer for one hour, one day a week using a curriculum designed by Polk County Schools. Activities compliment the core competencies four and five year old students are required to master. Under the supervision of classroom teachers and initiative trainers, ReadingPals will be asked to provide two 30-minute tutoring sessions weekly.

ReadingPals are in 12 Polk County schools and 2 Highlands County schools. To learn more, contact Sylvia Palmer, United Way of Central Florida ReadingPals Program Manager, 863-648-1500 x278 or email, or visit our website at