22nd August 2017 

The national children’s literacy charity Beanstalk announced today it is expanding its operations into Suffolk and has issued an urgent call for volunteers to provide one-to-one support to children in a local primary school who are falling behind with their reading.

The charity will begin to provide reading sessions to Suffolk children who are struggling with their reading from September 2017 as part of its expansion in the East of England.

Beanstalk already has one school that has signed up for its service, Nayland Primary School, and Beanstalk is asking other schools to contact the charity to find out how its award-winning service can help with their literacy strategy.

It is also asking local people to come forward to volunteer as Beanstalk reading helpers, something that other volunteers say is one of the most rewarding things they do.  Each reading helper works with three children, providing consistent one-to-one support twice a week over the course of an academic year to help the children improve their reading ability and confidence. Training is provided and the individual sessions enable the reading helper to work directly with children to improve their reading using not only books, but puzzles, games and conversation.

Low literacy is a persistent issue in the UK and Suffolk is no exception. Recent data shows that in Suffolk 38% of children finished primary school below the expected level for reading. The move into Suffolk has been made possible by a Beanstalk supporter, who wishes to remain anonymous, who is a current reading helper and ex-teacher who recognised the need for Beanstalk in other areas of the country. When asked why they decided to fund Beanstalk’s ‘Get Suffolk Reading’ campaign they stated that “when an opportunity arose to help fund Beanstalk’s move into Suffolk schools I knew I had to get involved in this new adventure. As a reading helper in Kent I have seen how children’s reading skills can develop with a little extra one-on-one help. With this extra support a whole new world of pleasure opens up for those children benefitting from the sessions. This is deeply satisfying for both the child and the reading helper”.

Ginny Lunn, CEO of Beanstalk, says “Beanstalk is very excited to be moving into Suffolk as part of our plans to support more children across the country. The incredible generosity of our supporter will enable us to start working closely with schools and reading helpers to ensure all children have the skills and confidence they need to be able to read well.”

Get involved

If you would like to become a trained reading helper or your school is interested in finding out more, please

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Notes to the editor:

For further information contact Sarah Pickstone, [email protected], 07815 707701 or Steve Hawe, [email protected], mobile 07837 701520.

Further images of Beanstalk trained reading helpers reading with children are available on request.

About Beanstalk

  • Beanstalk is a national charity that provides one-to-one literacy support to children who struggle with their reading.
  • The charity recruits, trains and supports volunteers to provide one-to-one literacy support in primary schools.
  • Beanstalk’s trained reading helpers transform the lives of the children they support, turning them into confident, passionate and able readers.
  • In the last school year the charity helped 11,000 children across England, in over 1,400 schools, with the help of 3,000 reading helpers, ensuring children have the skills and confidence to reach their true potential.
  • In the first year of working in Suffolk, Beanstalk aims to support 60 children by recruiting 20 trained reading helpers. In the second year, Beanstalk will support 180 children through 60 trained reading helpers.
  • Beanstalk currently has one volunteer operating in Suffolk who is focusing specifically on recruiting volunteers through the Suffolk Borders Teaching Alliance who work in the following areas: Haverhill, Sudbury, Great Cornard, Boxford, Lavenham, Bures, Newmarket, Kedington, Steeple Bumpstead and Glemsford.
  • By 2020-21 Beanstalk aims to help 30,000 children every year, with 8,000 volunteers.
  • Sources for statistics available on request