Become A ReadingPal

Reading Pals Application

Why does United Way care about helping children learn to read? Because children who read at grade level by the third grade are four times more likely to graduate from high school. And children who graduate from high school are more likely to be successful, productive community members.

ReadingPals is a literacy program that United Way of Lee, Hendry, Glades and Okeechobee launched in  2015.  With funding from Carol and Barney Barnett of Publix Super Markets, we recruit and train over volunteers to read to young children at schools in Lee and Hendry counties. The volunteers not only enjoy helping children discover a love of reading, they become their “Pals”. They spend an hour each week during the school year talking, drawing, reading and building a relationship with one another. For some, this relationship is life-changing. Here are a few quotes from our ReadingPals:

“Being with these children has been the highlight of each week.”-DH, Colonial Elementary

“I am getting as much out of this if not more than my children. What a rewarding but humbling experience.” – DF, Early Childhood Center

“You can count this program successful! I am heart-warmed when my little guy’s faces light up when they see me in their classroom when they return from recess! I am so pleased to be a part of this program!”– AM, J. Colin English

“Thank you for giving me the opportunity to work with these kids and teachers. Sometimes we forget to see the world through a child’s eyes – I am reminded of that each time I volunteer at the Center.” –MG, Gladiolus Learning Center

Help create a love of reading by joining us next school year! Children who are read to are more likely to become good readers.

Participating Schools in Lee County:

Villas Elementary 

Bonita Elementary-Call 239-433-7544 to be added to a waitlist

Colonial Elementary 

Orangewood Elementary 

Orange River Elementary

Pinewoods Elementry –Call 239-433-7544 to be added to a waitlist

J. Colin English Elementary-Call 239-433-7544 to be added to a waitlist

Christa McAuliffe Elementary 

Hector Cafferata Elementary

Health Park Child Development Center

Sunshine Elementary in Lehigh 

The Early Childhood Learning Center 

New Horizons Afterschool Program in Estero

Gladiolus Learning and Development Center 

Participating Schools in Hendry County:

CCSWFL Children’s Garden Of LaBelle 

RCMA Krome Child Development Center in Labelle

CCSWFL Harlem Academy in Clewiston 


To request additional information contact Nancy Coker, ReadingPals Coordinator at 239.433.7544 or email

Click here to be a Reading Pal Reading Pals Application