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Reading pals needed for elementary schools

Posted at 7:25 AM, Aug 23, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-23 07:25:57-04

LEE COUNTY, Fla. – Studies say that some of the benefits of educating a child at an early age include an increased chance of staying in school and going to college, better grades in reading and math, and improved mental health.

One local group says you can help mentor the younger learners in our community.

The United Way of Lee, Hendry, Glades and Okeechobee counties wants to pair kids with a reading pal.

Reading pals mentors VPK and kindergarten students one on one throughout the school year. They're in 20 schools and 45 classrooms, at no cost to you -- the program provides all the materials.

Nancy Coker manages the program. She says your time with students goes beyond reading. "They're becoming somebody that the children can trust, and have that special place with that they don't always have."

"It's a lot about just being there with the kids, actually having conversations with them, and sharing a good story," says volunteer Patricia Ostrom.

Here's a list of schools still in need of Reading Pals:
-Colonial Elementary in Fort Myers
-The Early Childhood Center in Fort Myers
-J. Colin English Elementary in North Fort Myers
-Orange River Elementary in Fort Myers
-Orangewood Elementary in Fort Myers
-Villas Elementary in Fort Myers
-Villas Elementary in Fort Myers

If you'd like to help, more information is on the local United Way website.