Today, Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez read to a pre-school class at the United Way Center for Excellence in Early Education in support of early literacy. For the story hour, he chose: Clifford The Firehouse Dog by Norman Bridwell and At the Firehouse by Anne Rockwell.

Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez

He read as part of the United Way Volunteer Reader Program, a pilot program that consists of 45 volunteers that share an hour of story time each week with nearly 600 children in 39 pre-K classrooms throughout Miami-Dade. The program is focused on building early literacy skills and instilling a love of reading.

“The United Way Volunteer Reader Program is a great way for residents to get involved with their community,” said Mayor Gimenez. “Promoting literacy and encouraging our youngest residents to read is a true win-win and will have a lasting impact.”

Research shows that children who learn to read well at an early age will not only read more independently, but also achieve more in math, social studies and science. They are also more likely to graduate from high school and pursue higher education. Investing in them pays off: the ROI includes higher graduation rates, better job skills, increased homeownership and less chance of criminal activities.

To learn more about United Way’s Volunteer Reader Program, make a pledge to read to children, donate a book and/or volunteer as a reader for phase two of the Volunteer Reader Program, visit