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United Way in need of volunteers to read to young children to promote literacy

United Way in need of volunteers to read to young children to promote literacy
Special to Eagle News.

Nearly one-third of all public school third graders experience difficulties with reading. Some children can’t read at all. Children who are unable to read at grade level by the time they are in third grade are four times more likely to drop out of high school.

According to United Way, when children are read to, they are more likely to become better readers themselves.

United Way of Lee, Hendry, Glades and Okeechobee are in need of volunteers to read to preschool and kindergarten students at various schools in Lee and Hendry counties as a part of its ReadingPals program.

Since 2012, the Children’s Movement of Florida has contributed a total of approximately 3 million dollars to fund this early literacy initiative in ten Florida regions. The goal is to ensure more third graders are able to read at grade level by the time they are finished with third grade.

Two hundred volunteers are requested to contribute one hour per week for 25 weeks during the school year. Beforehand, volunteers must take part in a short-training session and agree to a background screening.

The reading sessions are individualized. Volunteers will work with two children during an hour period, spending 30 minutes with each child.

The children will take their books home to help establish an at-home library and encourage literacy among their family members.

Volunteers can choose from a list of eight schools in Lee County and two schools in Hendry County to volunteer at.

To fill out a ReadingPals application or to view openings at Lee and Hendry County schools, check out United Way’s ReadingPals webpage.

For more information, contact Nancy Coker, the coordinator of ReadingPals, by telephone at (239) 433-2000 extension 253 or by email at nancyc@unitedwaylee.org.

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