Volunteer Training Sessions Offered in August

Early Learning Coalition volunteers Jane Hafner and Carol White read the book “Mr. Seahorse” by Eric Carle to children at Children’s World in Palatka, Fla., Wednesday November 18, 2020.

VOLUNTEER FLYER: https://elcnorthflorida.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/ELC-Volunteer-Recruitment-Flyer_July-2021_FINAL-PDF.pdf

Early Learning Coalition Needs Volunteer Readers in Six North Florida Counties

Training Sessions Offered in August

ORANGE PARK, Fla., August 9, 2021-  The Early Learning Coalition of North Florida (ELC) is seeking new volunteers to read to children in local preschools and help them put on themed literacy programs. 

Reading volunteers read once a week or bi-weekly. Literacy program volunteers volunteer as needed, putting on themed programs in schools such as space, ocean, dinosaurs and more. Volunteers are part of a team that puts on the programs. 

Upcoming Training & Information Sessions: 

Thursday, August 19, 2021, 1 p.m.

ELC of North Florida Clay County Office

3620 Peoria Road, Orange Park, FL

Contact: Lacy Doss at [email protected] or call 904-342-2267 ext 202

Tuesday, August 31, 2021, 1 p.m. 

ELC of North Florida St. Johns County Office

2450 Old Moultrie Road, Suite 103, St. Augustine, FL 

Contact: Joan Whitson [email protected] or call 904-342-2267 ext 202

Thursday, September 2, 2021, 10:30 a.m. 

ELC of North Florida St. Johns County Office

3841 Reid St., Palatka, FL

Contact: Joan Whitson [email protected] or call 904-342-2267 ext 202


“Reading to young children sets the groundwork for a child’s future ability to read and learn,” said ELC Early Literacy Coordinator Joan Whitson. 

Volunteer Reading Pals are matched up with local preschool centers where they read once a week or bi-weekly to groups of children. The ELC has a specific need currently for more volunteers in Clay County.

Reading Pals volunteers will learn the following skills: how to choose age-appropriate books; child development, including the attention span of preschoolers; presenting books to preschoolers and promoting early literacy through phonetically reading.  

“It makes my day when I walk into the classroom and the children cheer ‘It’s the book lady,’” volunteer Reading Pal, Ellen Prest said.

Studies show that the best opportunity to influence our children’s lifetime learning is before kindergarten when their most rapid period of brain growth occurs. Instilling an early love for reading is crucial to children’s future success in school. 

The ELC has a well-stocked lending library with books and literacy materials for the volunteers to check out and use.  Readers are also able to create relationships with the children through their consistent appearances. Volunteers can read solo or they can share their assignment with a partner. The ELC has several husband and wife teams as well. Civic organizations have also adopted a classroom and members take turns reading. 

 For more information about becoming a reading volunteer contact Joan Whitson, Early Literacy Outreach Manager at 904-342-2267 x 202 or email [email protected]

 The Early Learning Coalition is the leading voice in six counties for child care. ELC works with many other local agencies to ensure that all families have access to quality, affordable child care. Their mission is achieved by leading projects that increase the quality and availability of child care professionals, and advocate child care policies that positively impact the lives of children and families. To learn more about the Early Learning Coalition of North Florida and how assist in ensuring quality child care for all families, visit us at www.elcnorthflorida.org.



Sponsored by the State of Florida, Division of Early Learning.