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United Way volunteer reading to children.Reading is the single most important skill for learning and the building block for a lifetime of academic success. Early literacy is what kids know about reading before they learn to read: vocabulary, enjoying books, telling stories, noticing printed words and letters and recognizing smaller sounds in words.

Research shows reading aloud to children can help them develop into strong readers. Being a strong reader also improves students’ on-time grade promotion and increases high school graduation rates.

ReadingPals connects passionate, committed volunteers with preschoolers who need a little extra help getting ready for kindergarten.

For 30 minutes each week, a ReadingPals volunteer spends time with a pair of preschoolers, reading a book, completing activities, and developing skills that the children will need for success in school. Each child participating in the ReadingPals initiative also receives at least four books to help build their home library.

Our current ReadingPals sessions are full, and we are not offering trainings at this time. We would love to have you read with our students in the fall. Trainings for next school year will begin May 15, so be sure to check back for future training dates soon. If you’re interested in getting reminder emails as the trainings approach, contact our early learning manager, Caitlin Monds.

Learn More

Questions? Contact Caitlin Monds, early learning manager, at or 904-390-3292.

Partner Organizations

  • Early Learning Coalition of Duval
  • The Children’s Movement of Florida
  • Duval County Public Schools
  • Jacksonville Children’s Commission
  • Jacksonville Public Library