3 September 2019

Thousands of trained volunteers will go back to school this month to help bring the magic of books to more children across England, supporting them on a one-to-one basis to become confident and able readers.   

Recruited, trained and placed in primary schools and early years settings by Coram Beanstalk, reading helpers (volunteers) support children aged 3-13 through weekly sessions and over one academic year to read well - not just through recognising the words but through the enjoyment of sharing books together, chatting about them and developing deeper understanding of the content. 

According to the latest Key Stage 2 SATs results, 27% of primary school leavers didn't achieve the expected standard of reading in 2018-19.

Ginny Lunn, Managing Director of Coram Beanstalk, said:

“Coram Beanstalk volunteers help encourage, motivate and support children in a way that helps them feel positive about their reading and sets them up for success. Our reading helpers work with children who, for a variety of reasons, don’t feel confident around books and would benefit from weekly sessions outside of the classroom with someone who can help ‘open the door’ to reading. Our vision is to ensure that all children have the opportunity to become confident and able readers and we know that the first step to achieving this is through encouraging a love of books at an early age. We will be continuing to recruit and place volunteers in settings throughout the academic year so if you feel you could help inspire children to discover a lifelong love of books, please do get in touch with us to find out how you can get involved.” 

Angela Jones is one of the Coram Beanstalk reading helpers who will be returning to a school this September:

“The enjoyment and satisfaction I get from giving my time and making a difference to these children is immense. I would highly recommend it to anyone considering doing this. I have enjoyed every minute. I feel I have made a difference in a little one’s life. I have been asked by the teachers and the Head teacher to go back in September which is lovely. I am definitely going back and I look forward to helping and meeting the new children.” 

Coram Beanstalk works with schools nationwide to deliver a range of evidence-based programmes that have been developed to ensure children who most need help get that encouragement and support in the best way possible. 

Lizzy Webb is a teacher at All Saints Primary School where three Coram Beanstalk volunteers visit on a weekly basis. She says of one the school’s volunteers:

“Our reading helper has been so brilliant, kind, calm and gentle. She hasn't just made a great impact on the children's reading, but their confidence and emotional wellbeing too. The two boys in Reception were working below the expected age for reading and are now both at the expected age for the end of Reception.” 

Last year Coram Beanstalk supported 13,400 children through the help of 3,700 reading helpers and through a range of programmes. By March 2020 the charity’s aim is to reach 15,000 children through the help of 4,000 volunteers and is still looking for more reading helpers to make this happen.  

Learn more about becoming a partner school

Learn more about becoming a reading helper