1st June 2016

New research released today by children’s literacy charity Beanstalk shows:

  • younger adults are much less confident readers than older generations
  • more than half of the younger adults surveyed say they would have benefitted from more one-to-one support to help them improve their reading skills

The research commissioned by Beanstalk shows that almost a third of 16-24 year olds don’t feel confident when it comes to reading, compared to around one in five people aged 45 and over. It also shows that almost 40% of young adults surveyed said that they found learning to read to be a frustrating and difficult experience, compared to around 23% of over 55s.

Ginny Lunn, Beanstalk’s CEO, says:

  • “Our research shows that many young people lack confidence in their reading and wish that they had had more one-to-one reading support when they were a child.
  • At Beanstalk, we know the difference consistent one-to-one support can make to help build a child’s confidence in their reading.
  • Our trained reading helpers provide vital one-to-one support to over 10,000 primary school children across the country every week.
  • This Volunteers’ Week, we are asking more people to sign up as Beanstalk reading helpers so that we can ensure more children grow up feeling confident about their reading skills.”

Beanstalk is a national charity that recruits, trains and supports volunteers to provide one-to-one literacy support to children who struggle with their reading ability and confidence. Beanstalk’s reading helpers each work with – on average – three children, seeing each child for two 30 minutes sessions a week, during term-time, for three whole terms. Together they read, play and talk, helping make reading fun and to build the child’s confidence.

To sign up as a Beanstalk trained reading helper this Volunteers’ Week, visit www.beanstalkcharity.org.uk or call 020 7729 4087.


Notes to editors:

  1. Beanstalk is a national literacy charity that recruits, trains and supports volunteers to work in primary schools with children who have fallen behind with their reading. Beanstalk's vision is that all children and young people have the essential skills they need to grow up and lead successful lives. To find out how to volunteer, visit beanstalkcharity.org.ukor call 020 7729 4087.
  2. Each Beanstalk reading helper works with three children and sees each child for two 30 minute sessions a week, during term-time, for a whole year. Together, they read, play and talk. With Beanstalk's support the child's approach to learning and enjoying reading is often transformed.
  3. Beanstalk works in areas of deprivation across England in the North, Midlands, Somerset, Greater London and Kent.
  4. Beanstalk was founded in 1973 as Volunteer Reading Help by Susan Belgrave MBE, Beanstalk’s President. 
  5. The research for Beanstalk was carried out by Opinion Matters between 10/04/2016 and 16/05/ 2016; Sample: 2,087 UK Adults (All research conducted adheres to the MRS Codes of Conduct (2010) in the UK and ICC/ESOMAR World Research Guidelines. Opinion Matters is registered with the Information Commissioner's Office and is fully compliant with the Data Protection Act (1998).

Further information:

Contact Tom Rippon on 020 7729 4087; 07817 030346; [email protected]

Case studies of volunteers for interview/photography are available on request.