Trained volunteers begin journey to inspire children to read in Ipswich 22 March 2018 The first trained reading helpers have begun supporting children in Ipswich primary schools. Vera Cousins is among the very first reading helpers to be trained and placed by Beanstalk. This week Vera began supporting three children at Whitehouse Community Primary School and will continue to visit two times a week for 30 minutes, during one academic year. Vera will spend this one-to-one time with each child to get to know the know children and to tailor the reading sessions to their specific interests, and to overall help pass on the magic of stories and books. Vera said: “I am really excited about becoming a Beanstalk reading helper. Our visit to Whitehouse School was very welcoming and staff were very interested in what the project has to offer. Over the past few years I have been wanting to 'make a difference' and I know that Beanstalk will be just the right thing to do. Reading has always been very important part of my life and to pass on my enthusiasm to help three children at the beginning of their school education will be very rewarding.” Andrea Hall, Head Teacher at Whitehouse Community Primary School, said she is “thrilled to be working with Beanstalk to increase the confidence of our readers at the school.” In December 2017 Beanstalk launched its reading programme in Suffolk where latest figures show that nearly one in three children left primary school last year below the expected reading standard. The charity is now recruiting its new intake of reading helpers and is booking places on to its next training and selection day which will be at Ipswich Library on Thursday 29th March. Jo Holmes is Area Manager for Beanstalk in Suffolk: “At the end of last year we made the move into Suffolk to help improve literacy in the area and support children to become more confident and able readers, so we are thrilled that we have now placed our first reading helper and we are looking forward to getting many more volunteers settled in schools across the area so that children can start benefiting from the one-to-one support we provide. We are currently welcoming enquiries from schools across Suffolk who would like to work with Beanstalk and we also want to hear from anyone who would like to become a reading helper. Our next training and selection day is Thursday 29th March so please do get in touch with Beanstalk to book a place!” Supporting a child with reading gives them so much more than the ability to read, it gives them confidence and the key to a whole world of stories and characters which can ultimately help them make sense of the world and discover new possibilities and potential. To find out more about becoming a reading helper in Suffolk, or to book a place at its training and selection day in Ipswich on Thursday 29th March, please call 0845 450 0307.