By Ginny Lunn, Beanstalk CEO and reading helper

Today marks International Volunteer Day (5th December 2017), which this year highlights the positive solidarity of volunteers across the world in times of crisis.

At Beanstalk this solidarity is particularly meaningful. Our volunteers are an essential and valued part of our work to address the literacy crisis in the UK. Together we share a belief that we can drive change and improve the outcomes for children through sharing our love of books and the magic of storytelling.

Unfortunately many children do fall behind with their reading and need extra help. The majority of our volunteers spend 30 minutes with each of three children, twice a week, at a local primary school, helping them develop their confidence and reading skills. Our volunteers change lives - without them, thousands of children would still be struggling to read, and facing all the problems associated with low literacy levels.

But we need more reading helpers to join us if we're to be able to offer this support to all those who need it. As a reading helper you will play a vital role in nurturing children to be the best they can be: confidence and self-esteem will be developed through fun, literacy-based activities, raising both reading attainment and future aspirations.

If you would like to give children, who otherwise may not get enough regular encouragement and support, a better chance to 'read, grow and thrive' this volunteer opportunity could be for you.

As we approach the end of another year and look to the next, we want to hear from volunteers who can help pass on the magic of reading to children within their local communities in 2018. 

Click here or call 0845 450 0307 to find out more about our work and how you can sign up as a Beanstalk reading helper.