Volunteers' Week stories: "I know the struggles of trying to read in a second language" 3rd June 2019 To mark Volunteers' Week and the wonderful work all our reading helpers do across the country to inspire young readers, we'll be sharing stories from our volunteers about why its so important to them. Here's Emma's story... I first heard about Coram Beanstalk through an article called Get London Reading in the Evening Standard several years ago and as it is a subject close to my heart, I was keen to get involved. I have always enjoyed the power of words and during my year abroad whilst at university, I taught English as a language assistant in a school and tutored some Spanish students. Being unable to read or express yourself through words can be devastating for children and is a burden that they carry into adulthood. I first joined Coram Beanstalk as a reading helper at an inner-city London school near Holborn where many of the children had English as a second language. This particularly appealed to me as I know the struggles of trying to read in a second language first hand. The impact that reading helpers can have on a child's confidence is vast, especially when English may not be spoken at home. As I moved jobs and locations in London, I now volunteer at a small primary school near Kings Cross and I love working with two Year 6 children who are preparing for their SATs. The experience has taught me a great deal about patience and the importance of choosing engaging books to nurture a love of reading that will hopefully last the children a lifetime. I hope these children will now see reading as a hobby rather than something that have to do to past tests at school. I spend the majority of my days in front of a computer screen and these short sessions twice a week help me escape and immerse myself in something other than Excel! I would thoroughly recommend Coram Beanstalk to anyone who is keen to help children while still having fun yourself! Written by Emma Kennedy, a reading helper in London #VolunteersWeek Find out about becoming a reading helper in your local area.