I am a Retired European Sales and Marketing Director and I first heard about Beanstalk in the London Evening Standard’s ‘Get London Reading’ campaign in partnership with Beanstalk, which campaigned to recruit and fund Beanstalk volunteers in schools across London.

In July 2013, my daughter Joanna, who is Head of Partnerships at the Evening Standard, organised the ‘Get London Reading’ festival in Trafalgar Square and arranged the sponsorship with Nook, the US e-Reader company from Barnes and Noble, who donated e-readers for Beanstalk volunteers to use in local London schools as part of the campaign. 

As a lifetime avid reader I encouraged my daughters to read a wide variety of books. Both excelled academically and consider reading as a significant contributor to their successes. Joanna strongly encouraged me to try helping other children, having been inspired by the volunteers she met through the Get London Reading campaign in London.

The highlight of volunteering so far has been arriving at school a couple of weeks ago and having two small girls rush up and excitedly ask if they could be “ first to read”. One of the girls said last week that she was really looking forward to Monday as it was her birthday and she was reading with me!! 

It’s a lot of fun and mostly very rewarding. It is also surprising how quickly you can build a rapport with the children you work with – it’s not like you have to spend weeks trying to make a breakthrough as a strange adult with a child you have never met before.

I would very much recommend becoming a reading helper with Beanstalk.

Written by Keith Huxley.

If you have been inspired to become a reading helper with Beanstalk, please visit our volunteering page to find out more.