26 March 2019

A new nationwide training programme has been launched to help upskill parents (or other members of the community) who volunteer in primary schools to support children's reading skills and encourage reading for pleasure. 

The new programme has been developed by the national reading charity Coram Beanstalk in response to feedback from schools that indicated a one-off training programme specifically for their parent reading helpers and community volunteers would help support a ‘whole-school’ reading approach and encourage a love of reading among pupils. 

Through high-quality, interactive training, parent reading helpers learn how to help children become confident and willing readers and to have purposeful book-based conversations with pupils while helping to check and deepen comprehension.     

Ginny Lunn, Managing Director of Coram Beanstalk, says: 

“The new parent reading helper programme takes our evidence-based training, which has been developed through over 45 years’ experience of supporting children with reading, and delivers it to schools that already have an active community of parent reading helpers and volunteers. The training aims to take away worries about supporting the ‘teaching’ of reading and leaves parent reading helpers free to share the joy of brilliant books with children. It encourages parent helpers to have fun with books in a way that enriches and enhances a child’s learning.”  

The new three-hour course is delivered on site by a professional Coram Beanstalk trainer to a selected group of volunteers from the school community. Participants receive inspiring training on how to run one-to-one sessions with children that encourage reading for pleasure whilst complementing the quality teaching of the school staff. 

Jim Roebuck, Deputy Headteacher, Beckford Primary School, London said: We’ve had only positive feedback so far from the session and the group are very keen to get started working with the children!”  

A reading helper from London said: “I was very impressed by the training and although reading has always been a favourite pastime, I came away with a new perspective on the subject of reading and how to better help children who need support.”  

Coram Beanstalk is an award-winning national reading charity with over 45 years' experience in training volunteers to help children aged 3-13 to improve their reading skills. 74% of children showed an improvement in their reading ability after working with a reading helper trained by Coram Beanstalk.  

The training fee for the Parent Reading Helper programme is £1,500 for up to 20 adults – a great way to use the school’s Pupil Premium, literacy budget or through PTA or local business support. 

Schools can book the Parent Reading Helper training by filling out the online form, or call 020 7729 4087.  There are options available to train volunteers working with Early Years children, children in Years 1 to 4 or children in Years 5 to 7.