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Schools need volunteers to help pupils learn to read

Posted onPosted on 10th Nov

National literacy charity Schoolreaders is looking for volunteers to provide one-to-one reading support to children in Mansfield primary schools to help pupils catch up with their reading post-pandemic.

According to government figures, one in four children were leaving primary school without reaching the required standard for reading before the pandemic — and that figure is estimated to have increased.

Schoolreaders, which matches volunteers to primary schools to listen to children read, is seeking more volunteers who are keen to make a difference to children’s education and life prospects and are happy to volunteer in schools with the greatest need.

Schoolreaders volunteers are asked to listen to children read a minimum of once a week in term time (usually for up to two hours at a time) and to commit to a minimum of an academic year. Occasional absences for holidays or long-standing commitments can be accommodated in liaison with a volunteer’s partner school.

Retired nursing lecturer Chris Dowd, of Derbyshire, who has been volunteering with for more than two years, said: “Helping children to read well gives me the opportunity to make a change to children’s lives.

“A pupil I listen to once said to me, ‘I never used to like reading — it was too difficult — but you make it fun and I can’t wait for tomorrow.’ For me, that says it all!”

Jane Whitbread, founder of Schoolreaders, added: “When I set up Schoolreaders eight years ago, I never anticipated the demand for our reading volunteers would increase so dramatically.

“Covid and its associated disruption to education has meant that we are needed more than ever.”

λ To find out more about becoming a Schoolreaders volunteer in Mansfield primary schools visit or call 01234 924111.