ReadingPals is a statewide early literacy initiative that provides volunteer mentors for students from Voluntary Prekindergarten (VPK) to 3rd grade who need extra help, utilizing one-on-one or small group settings. Locally, United Way partners with Marion County Public Schools to provide ReadingPals in kindergarten & VPK classrooms.

Volunteer mentors donate one hour a week during the year at 18 elementary schools & 22 classrooms across Marion County. Statewide ReadingPals is in 20+ counties in FL. 

ReadlingPals Volunteers Assist with:

- Mentorship

- Early Literacy

 - Social-Emotional Development




  • Attend a volunteer training
  • Pass a background screening (at no cost)
  • Commit to reading to a child during the school day for 28 weeks


Ready to Become a READINGPAL - Make sure to do the following, checklist:

1. Fill out the volunteer application below - Online Submission

2. Complete the Memorandum form Below - Online Submission

3. Click on the Background Check screening drop down, and follow the steps to complete - online submission






ReadingPals was founded by The Children's Movement in Florida and organized through 17 United Ways across Florida.






United Way of Marion County Receives Sponsorship from AdventHealth Ocala to Support Literacy and Healthy Eating for Marion County Elementary Students. Click here to learn more about this partnership. 





2022-2023 Volunteer Forms

  • Anthony

  • Belleview

  • Belleview Santos

  • College Park 

  • Dunnellon

  • East Marion

  • Emerald Shores

  • Fessenden

  • Ft. McCoy

  • Greenway

  • Marion Oaks

  • Oakcrest 

  • Romeo

  • Saddlewood

  • Sparr

  • Sunrise 

  • Wyomina

  • Early Learning Academy ( formerly Evergreen)

Volunteer Application

Mailing Address
Do you have reliable transportation

Please list your availability on Tuesday & Thursdays:

Memorandum of Understanding


Between ReadingPals program of United Way of Marion County and

It is agreed that policies of this Memorandum of Understanding will guide the working relationship between the United Way’s ReadingPals program and the above-named volunteer. ReadingPals is a statewide literacy initiative that provides volunteer mentors for students from Voluntary Prekindergarten (VPK) to 3rd grade who may need extra help, utilizing one-on-one or small group settings.

United Way of Marion County’s ReadingPals will:
  1. Provide specialized training to all volunteers initially & quarterly to meet the program’s needs.
  2. Provide all materials for the lessons that accompany the books.
  3. Ensure a safe environment for the mentor sessions.
  4. Provide background screenings to all volunteers.
  5. Provide ongoing updates and communication to the volunteers.
  6. Provide a position description for the ReadingPals program.

The ReadingPals volunteer will:
  1. Attend all volunteer trainings.
  2. Observe rules of the Marion County Public School System.
  3. Respect the confidentiality of students and staff.
  4. Check in and out with the school receptionist to assure accurate documentation.
  5. Update the United Way of any changes in schedule or contact information.
  6. Contact your team leader or ReadingPals Program Director, in advance, when possible, if unable to volunteer to allow for substitute scheduling.