We were both teachers for the majority of our careers (over 30 years each) - Pauline in secondary education up to the level of Deputy Head Teacher and Bernard in Further Education up to the Level of Senior Lecturer. Pauline saw an advert in our local newspaper for reading helpers and applied. Bernard was running his own business after leaving the FE college and the school where Pauline was volunteering asked if he would be joining. When he finally closed down the business and retired he joined Beanstalk.

We had both been in education most of our working lives and felt we wanted to put something back on a personal basis and what better than to give your time in helping children to improve their reading ability?

Golden Moments

Our highlights are what we call our ‘golden moments’ – namely the joy of seeing the improvement in our readers and that special moment when it ‘clicks’ with them that that they can actually read! Pauline received a thank you card from the mother of one of her readers thanking her for giving her son “the gift of reading”, pass the tissues!

We both soon realised that there is no stigma to being withdrawn from class to have one-to-one help to improve reading ability. On the contrary, there is always a full show of enthusiastic hands in a class if one of our children is absent and we need a substitute!! The school recognises that we are ‘part of their team’ in helping the children to improve.

Support of Beanstalk and the school

The level of commitment of our support worker Andrea has been superb and always ready to help with a book or resource request. Also, the acceptance and support of the TAs and teachers in what we do. The difference in the confidence of the children as their reading ability improves.

We would definitely recommend to anyone who has two half-days a week, in term time, to spend in helping children improve their reading, which we describe as the “Key to the Kingdom of Learning”.

Written by Pauline and Bernard

If you have been inspired to become a #BeanstalkReadingHero in 2018, visit our volunteering page to find out more.