News and views Views Solving Humberside's literacy crisis By Janet Skeen, Beanstalk Area Manager for Yorkshire, Humberside and the North East. Recently, the National Literacy Trust and Experian published research which showed the scale of the literacy crisis affecting England, and how the Humberside region is bearing the brunt of this crisis more than other areas. The research shows that Kingston-Upon-Hull North is ranked as the 11th worst area in the country for literacy problems, and Great Grimsby as the 32nd. It should come as no surprise that the Humberside region suffers more than other areas of the country when it comes to the education of our children. For far too long the area has suffered from the neglect shown to it, which – sadly – is reflected in the 39% of children who leave primary school unable to read to the expected level. We must change this – and change it soon – to prevent more Humberside children from being the latest victims of our literacy crisis and joining the 5.2 million adults in our country who are functionally illiterate. The consequences of not having functional literacy skills are more than children not being able to read the latest best-seller. It’s about ensuring that they are able to be engaged and thrive in school, gain consistent full-time employment as adults, and pass on a love of reading to their own children in the future. To overcome the causes of low-literacy, we need to find a solution which works for and with communities in Humberside. That’s why I’m delighted that Beanstalk is set to launch our work in Humberside. At Beanstalk we provide a local solution for communities, where we recruit and professionally train volunteers from local communities and businesses to provide children with the tailored one-to-one support they need to improve their key reading skills and confidence. To ensure that our one-to-one support further meets the needs of the local community, we work closely with schools in a cost-effective way to ensure that the children we help are the ones most in need of support, and that the progress they make results in quantifiable outcomes in-line with the national curriculum. If you would like to ensure that children in Humberside have the support they need to reach their potential, then you can by becoming a Beanstalk trained reading helper or by becoming a Beanstalk partner school.