News and views News Beanstalk launches ‘Back to school’ appeal for volunteers to help deliver one-to-one reading support to children 12th September 2017 As the new academic year begins, national literacy charity Beanstalk is calling for people to sign up to its 2017-18 intake of trained volunteers that will help children in primary schools across England become more confident readers. Low levels of literacy continue to be a persistent problem both nationally and locally. According to the most recent SATS test results, over 175,000 primary school leavers in England did not achieve the expected level in reading. This can have a devastating impact on the lives of individuals and our communities, and is estimated to cost the UK economy £81 billion every year. Beanstalk works to help tackle this issue by providing trained reading helpers in local primary schools. Each volunteer supports three children and sees each child for two 30 minute sessions a week, during term-time, for at least one academic year. With Beanstalk's support the child's approach to learning and enjoyment of reading is transformed. “The start of a new academic year is a critical time for us to ensure there is enough one-to-one reading support available for schools that have identified children that need extra help and encouragement with their reading,” explains Ginny Lunn, Chief Executive at Beanstalk. “Without intervention, the outlook for children struggling with reading is concerning. It can lead to behavioural problems and can affect their future prospects in life and work. We need to recruit just over 3,000 more reading helpers across England by the end of the academic year to ensure that we help more school children achieve the skills, confidence and imagination to reach their true potential.” Denise Humphrey has been a Beanstalk reading helper for just over one year and has found the experience extremely rewarding and a good way to become part of the local community. “I became a Beanstalk reading helper because I had moved to a new area and was keen to do something that would enable me to meet people in the community and to use my skills and experience of working with children. I get a real buzz out of helping children improve their confidence and reading and we often play word games to make the sessions fun and engaging. The teachers have said that they have seen real improvements which makes it all very worthwhile.” Beanstalk needs more compassionate and caring people to volunteer as reading helpers in areas across England. For more information or to apply call Beanstalk on 0845 450 0301. - Ends - For further information please contact Kate Rumsby [email protected] 07912392275, or Sarah Pickstone [email protected], 07815 707701. About Beanstalk Beanstalk is a national charity that provides one-to-one literacy support to children who struggle with their reading. The charity recruits, trains and supports volunteers to provide one-to-one literacy support in primary schools. Beanstalk’s trained reading helpers transform the lives of the children they support, turning them into confident, passionate and able readers. In the last school year the charity helped 11,000 children across England through the help of 3,000 reading helpers, ensuring children have the skills and confidence to reach their true potential. By 2020-21 Beanstalk aims to help 30,000 children every year, with 8,000 volunteers.