YMCA READS! Promoting Early Literacy

The Y READS! program seeks to close the gap in between students' reading performance and the State of Florida’s reading-performance expectations. The program provides the resources necessary to help improve the reading levels of children in kindergarten to fourth grade while developing greater self-esteem and social skills. Trained volunteers provide reading instruction in groups of one or two children using the SIPPS (Systematic Instruction in Phonological Awareness, Phonics, and Sight Words) curriculum and KidzLit.

Students who participate in Y READS! are referred by the partner schools’ principals, reading coaches, guidance counselors and/or student’s teachers. Students are referred to our program based on their performance in reading in the classroom and assessment testing.

Each student enrolled in Y READS! is expected to receive a minimum of two one-hour individualized sessions per week with a mentor. Each student’s reading level is continuously assessed to provide targeted instruction. Student progress is monitored through on-going curriculum assessments, as well as quarterly i-Ready Diagnostic assessments and school assessments/teacher reports, but the biggest measurement is by what their families have to say about the program.

All students enrolled in the Y READS! program are referred by teachers at their local school. Each student has been identified by a professional educator as “at-risk” and in need of additional reading skill development for successful grade level promotion. Each year, program assessments show improvements. The children’s reading levels are assessed at the beginning and throughout the program using the iReady Florida Diagnostic test.


For further information, questions, or support contact Dorene Walter: 

Dorene Walter
YMCA READS! Coordinator