Local literacy charity Beanstalk has launched a new campaign for 2018 to highlight the extraordinary difference members of the community in Shropshire can make by volunteering in primary schools to support children who struggle with reading.
The work Beanstalk’s ‘reading heroes’ carry out will improve the lives of children that need extra help to prevent them from falling behind at school and to bring enjoyment into reading.
For over 40 years Beanstalk has recruited, trained and supported reading helpers in primary schools to provide one-to-one support where it is crucially needed. Many children in Shropshire still leave primary school not having met the expected standards of reading which can lead to all sorts of problems in later life.
By working with children who have either fallen behind with their reading, lack confidence, or struggle with their fluency or comprehension, Beanstalk’s reading helpers can make a significant difference to their future prospects. Their one-to-one sessions twice a week with the children they support will help them progress while also helping to encourage reading enjoyment. In 2016-2017 Beanstalk reading helpers supported approximately 1500 children in the West Midlands with their reading.
“Beanstalk reading helpers really are local heroes within our communities and do so much more than just read. They develop confidence, self-esteem and very importantly help make reading fun and enjoyable. We regularly hear from volunteers who have had ‘breakthrough’ moments with a child because they found a particular book, poem or story which captivated that child’s interests. These moments are often the turning point for a child and happen as a result of regular and consistent reading opportunities,” explains Gail Washington, Area Manager for Beanstalk West Midlands.
Jashan, from Telford, has recently become a Beanstalk reading helper. She was inspired by the help she received herself at school by her own Beanstalk reading helper:
“During primary school, I was not a competent reader and struggled reading aloud in class. When I was in year six, I was still lacking confidence which was worrying as secondary school was around the corner. Mrs Goddard was a reading helper who visited me each week, and helped develop my love for literacy. I used to look forward to her visits. She used to aid and support me to become more confident, whilst making reading more fun. I would choose a book out her box and read to her.
She was never too pushy and never made me feel uncomfortable if I didn’t get a word right. We would discuss the book together at the end of the session, and then I’d walk back into class feeling happier and content. Mrs Goddard heavily impacted my reading ability, which has motivated me to become a reading helper today. Her impact was so significant I still remember her over 10 years later.”
Once trained by Beanstalk, reading helpers on the Beanstalk Reading 321 programme work with three children at a local primary school and spend 30 minutes with each child twice a week, during term-time, for at least one academic year. Each session is meant to be relaxed, informal and fun. By having this one-to-one time with each child the reading helper can help tailor resources to the child’s interests and develop reading skills in a fun and engaging way.
If you would like to become a Beanstalk reading hero in 2018 and would like to help children in your community reach their full potential please:
• Visit www.beanstalkcharity.org.uk
• Call Beanstalk on 0845 450 0307 or
• Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Look out for Beanstalk’s digital ads across the country! Clear Channel, the UK’s leading Out of Home media owner, is supporting Beanstalk’s New Year #BeanstalkReadingHero campaign. Clear Channel has created digital adverts, which will appear on screens at a number of shopping malls across the country, to help promote Beanstalk volunteering opportunities available.