Read United needs volunteers to help kids improve reading literacy

United Way Quad Cities wants to improve literacy in schools and they need your help.

The group needs 300 volunteers to pair up with students as reading mentors to help get them back on track in school through Read United. Since it began in 2022, the program has been a community-wide effort to address a drop in youth reading proficiency.

“All students deserve success in school, but the reality is, only 55% of Quad Cities third graders are reading at grade level,” said Marci Zogg, United Way’s Vice President of Community Impact. “Read United offers a unique opportunity for community members to be a hero for struggling readers, instilling a lifelong love of reading.”

Volunteers can choose from 16 participating schools in Scott and Rock Island counties and volunteer in 30 minute weekly blocks at a time during school hours that line up with their schedules for the rest of the school year. Click here to learn more about becoming a reading volunteer with Read United. New volunteers are urged to sign up by March 1.

The program shows promise in improving literacy. After the spring 2023 session of Read United, 62% of students who participated improved their reading proficiency levels. Read United focuses on students in third grade and younger. Teachers recommend children for mentoring because they are in the best position to determine which students would benefit most from one-on-one reading support.

Volunteers must be at least 18, pass a background check and complete a virtual 30-minute training. Click here to register and find options for the day, time and location that works best with your schedule.

For more information, click here or contact United Way Quad Cities’ Director of Education Kate Horberg at or (563) 344-0338.

Another way the United Way is improving local literacy is by collecting books to give to underserved kids during their QC Reading Week Book Drive from February 23 through March 3. The book drive coincides with Dr. Seuss’s birthday, also known as Read Across America Day.

Click here for more information on the book drive.

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