27th December 2016 

As 2017 is nearly upon us, it’s natural to want to start the year on a positive note. In fact, more than half of Brits (53%) will make a New Year’s resolution this year, according to a survey commissioned by children’s literacy charity Beanstalk.

The vast majority of people fail to stick to their plans, however, with the research also showing that 81% broke their resolution last year. A quarter (24%) gave up because of boredom, one in five (21%) say they stopped because their resolution didn’t fit with their lives, and 19% failed because they couldn’t see the impact or didn’t enjoy it.

Ginny Lunn, Chief Executive of Beanstalk, the charity providing volunteer reading helpers in primary schools, says:

“We all start the year with good intentions but this research shows just how quickly things change if we don’t enjoy our resolutions or can’t see the difference we’re making.  Many of our volunteer reading helpers get in touch as a result of a New Year’s resolution and wanting a new challenge. Our volunteers always say how much they enjoy what they do, and how rewarding it is to see the impact they have on the children they read with. We also know they appreciate the training and support we provide – so you’re much less likely to fall off the wagon!”  

So what’s the key to make good intentions last longer than the Christmas chocolates? For one in three people it’s having a strong reason to do it (33%), picking something you enjoy (30%), or being able to see the results or difference you make (29%).

That’s just what Wendy Frankland found when she made volunteering as a Beanstalk reading helper her New Year’s resolution last year.  After signing up last January, Wendy, 67 from Leeds, was soon placed in a local school. There she provides much-needed one-to-one literacy support to children who need extra support with their reading, helping them develop the skills and confidence they need to reach their true potential. 

“I wanted a challenge where I could see the difference I was making to a child’s life. I started reading with children at my local primary school in January and it has brought so many great moments so far. The training and support from Beanstalk right from the beginning helped me feel confident. And you can really see the impact, whether it’s because a child has learnt a new word, found a book they want to read, or is simply more confident. It really is so little time for something that is so enjoyable and rewarding!”

For more information on Beanstalk and how to become a reading helper this New Year, visit www.beanstalkcharity.org.uk or call 020 7729 4087.

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For further information, or to arrange an interview with a Beanstalk reading helper or spokesperson, please contact Tom Rippon on 020 7729 4087 or call [email protected] 

Notes to editors:

About the survey

The survey of 2,003 people was conducted by Censuswide between 26.10.2016 and 28.10.2016. 

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 over 11,000 children across England, in over 1,400 schools, with the help of over 3,000 reading helpers, ensuring children have the skills and confidence to reach their true potential.
  • By 2020-21 Beanstalk aims to help 30,000 children every year, with 8,000 volunteers.

Why Beanstalk is needed

  • Last year over 200,000 children left primary school unable to read to the expected level ; that’s 34% of primary school children
  • 70% of pupils permanently excluded from school have difficulties with basic literacy
  • 25% of young offenders have reading skills below that of the average 7 year old
  • Poor literacy skills cost the UK economy £81 billion every year