ReadingPals Program



ReadingPals is a school-based mentoring program that helps 4-year-old pre-kindergarten students build strong pre-literacy skills necessary for kindergarten success. In 2016-2017, Escambia County’s high school graduation rate was 79.5%. By supporting children early, we can work toward increasing our high school graduation rate.

United Way of Escambia County 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 2017-18 school year, 245 volunteers served a total of 3,736 hours with ReadingPals, for a $90,187 impact on our community. Join us today as we prepare our students for a better future. Change won't happen without you! 


200 volunteers are needed to serve one hour per week or 25 hours total with a student during the 2018-19 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 (Q St. and St. Mary Ave.)
  • Global Learning Academy, 100 N. P Street (one block north of Navy and Pace Blvd. intersection)
  • McMillan Pre-K Center, 1403 W. St. Joseph Ave.
  • Montclair Elementary School, 820 Massachusetts Ave.
  • O.J. Semmes Elementary School, 1250 E Texar Dr.


Research indicates that differences in vocabulary are evident at 18 months of age. By age three, children in low-income homes will have heard one-third as many words as children in middle and high-income homes (10 million versus 30 million words). (Hart and Risley, The 30 Million Word Gap, 2003)


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.