YMCA Reads Creating Change at 7 Area Schools

From preschool until third grade, children learn to read. From then on, they read to learn. However, nearly half of all Escambia County third graders are struggling to read on grade level. For these kids, not learning to read means they can’t read to learn. That makes every class, every subject, harder. And so they struggle, eventually falling one grade, maybe two grades behind in their reading level. Some of these students may get promoted to higher grades when they aren’t ready. Some get teased because they can’t read aloud in class. Others, frustrated, eventually drop out.

At the Y, we have a solution: The YMCA Reads Program.

Y Reads Schools For 2024-25 School Year

  • Ferry Pass Elementary
  • Global Learning Academy
  • Montclair
  • Oakcrest
  • O.J. Semmes
  • Sherwood Elementary
  • West Pensacola Elementary



Change a child's life.

Do you want to make a meaningful difference in a child’s life? Do you have two hours a week to give? The YMCA Reads Program needs you! Through a grant from the Escambia Children’s Trust, we offer this evidence-based curriculum at four Escambia elementary schools. Our goal is to support new and struggling readers, moving them up to grade-level reading. You can select your school and your day of the week. We conduct a background screening and offer training.

two girls reading together


83% of our students improved in their standardized  test scores.

92% were promoted to the next grade level.

90% of our students identified has having behavior issues in the classroom improved in behavior, as reported by their teachers and families.

What is YMCA Reads?

YMCA Reads is an early intervention program that targets students in Kindergarten through 4th grade with a curriculum designed to bring young readers up to grade level. The program improves students' literacy by focusing on skills such as phonics, vocabulary, and reading comprehension.

YMCA Reads isn't just reading to kids. It operates as an extended classroom and helps students maintain school attendance and good behavior while developing self-esteem and social skills.

Students are referred by teachers and staff at their school. Each student receives three hours of structured instruction a week. The program has produced strong outcomes throughout the state, and we're excited to bring it to Pensacola, thanks to funding from the Escambia Children's Trust.

Made Possible by a Grant from


With additional support from

Cox Communications
Rotary Club of Pensacola
United Way West Florida