Who We Are
ReadingPals is a statewide early literacy initiative that provides volunteer mentors for students from Pre-K to 3rd grade who may need extra help, utilizing one-on-one or small group settings.
In Bay County, ReadingPals volunteers help pre-kindergarten students build strong early literacy skills necessary for kindergarten success.
What We Do
ReadingPals offers volunteers an opportunity to build meaningful relationships with young children while helping them to improve their social-emotional development and early literacy skills.
In Bay County, ReadingPals spend an hour per week working one-on-one with a pre-kindergarten student in Bay County Public Schools and Early Education & Care learning centers. Books, themed literacy kits, and other developmentally-appropriate learning activities are provided to ensure sessions are engaging and impactful. The volunteer and student pairs get to choose which activities they work on each session to encourage positive decision-making skills and to foster independence and creative thinking.
Every student in participating ReadingPals classrooms receives a brand new, quality book every month of the school year to help build their home library.
In this, our innaugural 2023-2024 school year, we anticipate serving 125 Pre-K students who will receive over 2,500 collective mentoring hours!
What We Hope to Achieve
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.
According to the Florida Department of Education, 50% of children in Florida and 45% of children in Bay County were not ready for kindergarten in 2021. And the 2022 reading exam showed that 75% of Florida students could not read at a minimally proficient level by the end of third grade. National studies show that students who do not read proficiently by third grade are four times more likely to leave high school without a diploma.
Early intervention and individualized attention gives students the best likelihood of success long-term, and studies show that children with mentors are more confident and have fewer behavioral problems.
Made Possible By
ReadingPals is managed by The Children’s Movement of Florida and administered through 17 United Ways/supporting agencies -- with the help of numerous community partners across the state. ReadingPals is made possible through the generosity of the Barnett family – with the support of The Children’s Movement of Florida, United Ways, Women United, local school districts, Early Learning Coalitions, Children’s Services Councils, local libraries, and many others.
This program is also supported by Bay District Schools, Early Education & Care, Bay County Public Library Foundation Inc. & their Free Library On Wheels (FLOW), iHeartMedia, and United Way of NWFL investors and stakeholders.