Rockin’ Reader
A Volunteer Read-Aloud Program for Kindergarten & First Grade

What is Rockin' Reader?

The Rockin’ Reader program is the primary initiative of the TeamUP Volunteer & Partnership Council. For 23 years the Council has provided volunteers, books, materials, training, and program management to the Rockin’ Reader Program, a weekly program during which a volunteer reads with the same student (1:1) for 30 minutes a week throughout the school year. And we rely on community support to do so. If you want to put books in students’ hands and connect children with trained community members, please consider supporting the TeamUP Volunteer & Partnership Council in its continued goal to advance and improve pre-literacy skills and instill the love of reading!

According to the landmark report Becoming a Nation of Readers, “Reading aloud to a child is the single most important activity for building the knowledge required for success in reading.“

Developing early literacy skills helps children learn to read. However, more than 1 in 3 American children enter Kindergarten without the skills they need to learn to read, an essential skill for success in school and later in life (American Academy of Pediatrics). Nearly half of all students in Sarasota District Schools come from low-income homes. Children from low-income homes likely enter school with a word gap—having heard a million or more fewer words than their peers from other socio-economic groups. If not remediated, that gap can lead to failure in reading by 3rd grade and dropping out of school. Children who hear words from books will be better prepared to read (Crane Center for Early Childhood Research and Policy). The Rockin’ Reader program:

  • closes the word gap that often compounds the achievement gap between at-risk students and their peers from other socioeconomic groups;
  • inspires a love of reading and increasing reading readiness skills; and 
  • increase the students’ life skills, self-esteem, and confidence through intergenerational mentoring.


“The strength of the Rockin’ Reader Program as compared to other volunteer reading programs is the consistent and professionally designed training, oversight and support provided by the Council. I believe in this program.“
Wilma Hamilton Delp (1949-2021)
Sarasota County Schools Superintendent (2000-2003), Longtime Education Consultant

Get Involved

You can support this initiative by donating funds toward the following elements of program recruitment, training, materials, and oversight such as the following:

  • $350 Current Kindergarten Book Set (per classroom)  
  • $250 Additional diversity set of books for Kindergarten Book Set (per classroom)  
  • $400 PreK Book Set (per classroom)
  • $1,000 Volunteer Training Materials (annually)
  • $500 School-based Program Coordinator Stipend (per participating school)
  • $5,000 Program Management and Data Collection
  • $450 Kindergarten Public Library Field Trip (per school)
  • $250 Rockin’ Reader Family Engagement: Family Fun at the Public Library (per school)
  • $500 Rockin’ Reader Family Engagement: Take-home Conversation Starters (per classroom)

You can volunteer to be a Rockin’ Reader, too! Contact the TeamUP Volunteer & Partnership Council ( for program information and opportunities.