News and views Adrian's story: Now I am one of the top students in my English class Adrian - aged 13 - talks about how the Beanstalk reading helper he had in primary school has helped him discover the magic of books. What was reading like before you had a Beanstalk reading helper? I never used to like reading. I could never find the right book for me, so I chose the easy ones because I understood how to read those. I never chose the hard books until my reading helper showed me how to read, and now I get the tricky books. He made reading fun and would always question me so I knew what was going on in the story. Not only was he someone who helped me to read but he was also a great friend. What did you do in the reading sessions? He would ask me how my day went and how far I read up to from the book we chose to read. I would then read to him and he would follow along because, when I missed out some words or punctuation or didn’t know how to pronounce a word, he would correct me and make me read over it until I got it right. He would always tell me to ask him anything I didn’t understand and he would question me about the characters or the plot of the story. Which is your favourite book? My favourite book is written by Malorie Blackman, who truly inspires me. I love the way she makes her story up and how she keeps the reader intrigued in the book. I have read most of her books and every single one of them is fantastic and they’re all based on real life and how harsh it can be. Who is your favourite ever character from a book or story? My favourite character is in the first book of a series of noughts and crosses. Before you start thinking it’s about the game noughts and crosses, it’s not! It’s about the world being split up into the ruling elites of crosses, and the noughts who have very little power. My favourite character was Sephy because she had to go through a lot for a relationship which didn’t end up the way she wanted it to be. She was in love with a nought and her father forbid them…if you would like to know what happens at the end go to your local library and ask for the book. If you were an author and were going to write a book, what would it be about? If I were an author I would write a book about a mix of books I read - adventure, sacrifices, conflicts and unsolved mysteries. How do you feel now about reading? I am very passionate about reading because it improves my vocabulary and is a good way to make time fly when you’re bored. It affected my imagination in a good way and it had a big impact on my English too, now I am one of the top students in my English class. My friends don’t enjoy reading but this is because - to quote J.K Rowling - ‘if you do not enjoy reading it’s because you haven’t found the right book'! If you would like to help a child like Adrian discover the magic of reading, then you can by becoming a Beanstalk volunteer reading helper.