Volunteering as a Beanstalk reading helper is very rewarding! You'll see the children's reading gradually improve over time and you'll help them learn to love books and develop the vital skills they need to read, grow and succeed.
To become a reading helper you must:
1. Be able to spare three hours per week, plus your travel time
You must be able to visit a local school twice a week for 90 minutes per visit during term time. This usually means spending two mornings or two afternoons in a local school each week.
2. Commit for at least a year
You will work with the same three children for a year, building up a rapport with them by creating a safe and fun learning environment. Our experience has shown us that it takes a year for the children to really benefit from your support. Of course, you can always stay for longer than a year if you want to help even more children have the best chance in life.
3. Be a UK resident
Before we can place you in a school, we have to conduct background checks (see point 6 below) and you must be a UK resident. If you have been in the UK for less than two years or have had an extended period of time outside the UK this does not automatically exclude you from becoming a reading helper. Please indicate on your application form if this applies to you and your details will be forwarded to a National Safeguarding Officer (NSO) who will assess the application on a case-by-case basis.
4. Be fluent in English and a competent reader
An obvious but essential part of being a reading helper!
5. Believe in the importance of literacy
We provide you with full training to prepare you for your role as a Beanstalk reading helper before we place you at a school, so we don't ask for any formal qualifications. However, we do look for people who have a passion for reading themselves so they can share this enthusiasm with the children.
6. Be happy for us to undertake an enhanced DBS check & be able to supply two references
In order to work one-to-one with children in a school, we have to apply for an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service check for you. This will be processed at your Beanstalk interview. We also need to take up two references before we can place you at a school. You will be asked to provide details of these on the application form.
If you can fulfil all six points above, we can promise you a rewarding volunteering experience with full support and training.
What type of people become Beanstalk reading helpers?
Our reading helpers come from all walks of life. They volunteer for many different reasons but they’re united by two things:
At Beanstalk we believe that every child deserves the chance to reach their full potential. Literacy is a fundamental part of that process. As mentioned above, we don't look for specific qualifications in our volunteers, but we do value the following qualities.
Our reading helpers are:
patient and encouraging
able to work one-to-one with children at the child's pace
flexible and approachable
passionate about literacy
If this sounds like you, please use the Beanstalk area office finder to see if we
work in your area. If we do, then please apply to become a reading helper
If you cannot commit to the role of a Beanstalk reader in schools, please think about other ways you can get involved – for example, you could volunteer in your local area office or fundraise for us.