9th April 2020

All year round, Coram Beanstalk supports volunteers and members of the community to work closely with children to help improve their reading skills through one-to-one reading sessions. COVID-19 has prevented our volunteers from providing this face-to-face support. We've now been faced with a difficult question, how do we now reach children to encourage them to read the same volume of books as they did when they were in full-time education and how can we make reading fun for them so they grow a love of reading? 

In answer to this question, our volunteers have told us some wonderful and creative stories about how they have managed to make reading fun whilst adhering to lockdown, self-isolation and social distancing. Some stories that have been shared with us include reading over Skype, the fence or through social media. However, when we heard a particular story, we knew we had to share it with you!

One of our reading helpers was trying to encourage any children walking past her house to engage with reading, little did she know it would inspire a little girl on her street.  

Along with all the bears and rainbows in people's windows, I put a bear or two in mine. There are at least four families with young children in this part of the street to see them, and people walking by and so on. I then thought it would be fun to put a book in the window too so a couple of days ago I added "There's a Bear on my Chair". I'm turning a page every day. The front garden is narrow enough for a picture book to be seen clearly from the pavement. There is a little girl over the road who I know is a reader and loves Paddington Bear. Last night her mother messaged me to say that she had been refusing to go out for a walk but that she had decided she would today because she wants to see what the book in my window says. I was delighted when her mother told me this and said to me “We encourage reading over here”. I get excited to change the page now knowing that there’s a little girl going for a walk just to read the next bit of the story!

If you would like to share what your child is reading then please get involved in our #SHaREbeanstalk campaign. Use our printable picture to colour in, write what your child is reading and then stick it in the window! If you would like to share on social media then please do using the hashtag #SHaREbeanstalk. We can’t wait to see your pictures and hear about what you’re reading!