Volunteers needed to spread the joy of reading in Rochdale schools

Date published: 11 February 2024

Children’s literacy charity Schoolreaders is looking for volunteers who can help spread the joy of reading to children in primary schools across Rochdale.

Every year, 1 in 4 children leave primary school unable to read to the expected standard.

Schoolreaders recruits volunteers to listen to children read in primary schools, focusing on schools where children require the most support. Volunteers are asked to listen to children read once a week in term time and to commit to an academic year.

95% of children supported by a Schoolreaders volunteer improve their reading age. Partner schools also reported that volunteers had a positive impact on pupils with 95% improving their reading confidence and 87% their reading enjoyment. Additionally, children benefit enormously from the volunteers as positive role models in the classroom.

Jane Whitbread, founder of Schoolreaders, said: “Children who leave primary school unable to read well can’t access their secondary schooling fully which will compromise their life opportunities. One in seven adults in England (7.1 million) are functionally illiterate and cannot read instructions on a medicine label, sit a driving theory test or fill in a job application form. Working together we can change this.

“Our Schoolreaders volunteers provide a crucial supplement to classroom teaching and are welcomed by schools and the children. If more children gain pleasure from reading from an early age and their reading fluency and confidence improves too, communities and society will reap the benefits.”

Sheena, retired, and a Schoolreaders volunteer, explains her experience, “For me, establishing a rapport with each child and recognising their uniqueness by making the sessions relevant and fun is what counts and the earlier we can do this the better.

“Reading skills and developing a love of books from the earliest age will hopefully aid children to become confident, interested and engaged readers who read for pleasure.

“I thoroughly enjoy my time listening to readers and look forward to returning to school after half term.”

To find out more about Schoolreaders visit www.schoolreaders.org. By applying now new volunteers will be matched as quickly as possible to a partner school and be ready to start once they have completed a mandatory DBS check and virtual safeguarding training.

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