Literacy and Mentoring Program

For Kindergarten Through Third Grade Students

YMCA READS! seeks to close the gap in students’ reading performance and the State of Florida’s reading performance expectations. YMCA READS! meets the educational and developmental needs of students by providing structured and supervised services.

The primary focus is on improving students’ reading skills. Additional services are provided to develop the whole child, including meeting each child’s need for relationship building and greater self-esteem. Volunteer mentors deliver the program services under the supervision of the program coordinator.

Y Reads! Curriculum

The materials used are based on research-based tutoring programs and encompass these principles:

SIMPLICITY:  It can be taught by non-certified tutors with training and support.
SYSTEMATIC AND EXPLICIT:  The curriculum teaches children to decode (read) and encode (spell) words, sentences and stories in a way that makes sense to them. Each lesson builds on the next one, and students master one level before attempting the next.
CONSISTENCY:  From session to session, the level of difficulty increases; however, the instructional


  • Pizzo: 11701 USF Bull Run Drive, Tampa, FL 33617
  • Twin Lakes: 8507 N Habana Ave, Tampa, FL 33614
  • Sulphur Springs K8 Community School: 8412 N 13th St. Tampa, FL 33604



Volunteer Opportunities

Become a mentor and give a child the courage to read the world!

By volunteering two hours a week, you can teach a child to read. As a YMCA READS! mentor, you will work in a small group environment or one- on-one with a kindergarten to third-grade student, developing positive self- esteem and helping students improve their academic performance. Be a child’s tutor and friend, and give them the keys to a brighter future.

  1. Plan:  Choose School
    1. Pizzo Elementary
    2. Sulphur Springs K8 Community School
    3. Twin Lakes Elementary Complete Applications  
  2. Act:  Complete Application
    1. Tampa YMCA
    2. Hillsborough County School Board
  3. Succeed:  On-Boarding
    1. Interview with Coordinator
    2. New Mentor Training
    3. Receive Mentor Schedule

Benefits of Volunteering

  • Positive involvement in a child’s life
  • Practical and enriching experience working with at risk children
  • Educator experience in a diverse and high need community
  • Opportunity to provide research-based and creative instruction
  • A comfortable yet structured environment to see a child build confidence to read and learn
  • Flexibility to tailor your volunteering schedule to be involved and connected in a child’s academic grow

For more information about volunteering, please submit an application and note the YReads! program.