The School District of Manatee County is seeking community volunteers to participate in its ReadingPals program, which helps local kindergarten students become better readers by paring them with an adult for one hour every week.
Together, the volunteer and the student work on building vocabulary and increasing comprehension.
The program was created by United Way of Manatee as an effort to help students reach a proficient reading level by third grade, a goal that researchers theorize give them a better chance of earning their diploma.
United Way of Manatee County organizes the program while Barnett Early Literacy Initiative funds it.
Starting in September, volunteers will be paired with two students for one hour every week. Each student receives a half hour session working with his or her mentor, which will be completed consecutively with the other student.
Helpers are expected to participate for the entire year, or a total of 25 sessions.
Site locations and hours are:
- Ballard Elementary School, 912 18th Street W., Bradenton, Hours: Tuesdays or Thursdays, 1:30-2:30 p.m.
- Blackburn Elementary School, 3904 17th Street E., Palmetto, Hours: Tuesdays, 9:20-10:20 a.m.
- Daughtrey Elementary School, 515 63rd Ave. E., Bradenton, Hours: Tuesdays or Thursdays, 8:30-9:00 a.m. (Volunteers will work with 2 students at the same time).
- Rogers Garden Elementary School, 515 13th Ave., W., Bradenton, Hours: Tuesdays, 8:30-9:30 a.m.
Volunteers will need to attend one of the following training sessions:
- September 4, Wednesday, 5:30-7:30 p.m., Daughtrey Elementary School
- September 7, Saturday, 9-11 a.m., United Way McClure Center in Lakewood Ranch
Level one background screening is required by the School District, at no cost to the volunteer.
For more information, contact Sandra Holmes at 941-748-1313 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.uwmc.net