Children’s literacy charity Schoolreaders is looking for more volunteers who can help spread the joy of reading to children in Hertfordshire primary schools – especially around Tring.
A recent survey of young people by the National Literacy Trust (NLT) revealed that reading enjoyment had reached a 15-year low, rallying slightly in the pandemic before declining again by 2022, especially amongst those from disadvantaged backgrounds and amongst boys.
Furthermore, the Annual Literacy survey found that fewer than 1 in 2 children aged 8 to 18 enjoyed reading with only 28% reading daily.
Schoolreaders is looking for volunteers of all ages – from students to retirees – who can listen to children read in a local primary school, especially at those schools where children require support the most.
Worryingly, 1 in 4 children leave primary school every summer unable to read to the expected standard and the Schoolreaders scheme is now more in demand than ever, particularly to help those children most disadvantaged following the education disruption caused by Covid lockdowns.
Schoolreaders volunteers act as trusted role models in the classroom alongside the class teachers, not only helping children improve their reading but also by being a positive influence.
Schoolreaders volunteers are asked to listen to children read once a week during term time and to commit to an academic year. 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.
Jane Whitbread, founder of Schoolreaders, adds, ‘Children who leave primary school unable to read well can’t access their secondary schooling fully which will disadvantage them for life. One in seven adults have poor literacy and cannot read instructions on a medicine label or a bus timetable or fill in a job application form. Working together we can change this.
‘There is no substitute for face-to-face interaction and support when it comes to reading. Our volunteers provide a crucial supplement to classroom teaching and are welcomed by schools – and the children. 95% of children in our scheme improved their reading performance and over 90% their reading enjoyment after time with a Schoolreaders volunteer which is so valuable. 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.’
To find out more or to apply today to be a Schoolreaders volunteer in primary schools with the greatest need in Hertfordshire, visit Schoolreaders.org.