14th June 2019

Coram Beanstalk is delighted to announce that the i newspaper has today launched a nationwide campaign to encourage readers to help spread the magic of books and reading by volunteering with Coram Beanstalk – supporting children in early years settings and primary schools to read well and with confidence across the country.  

In 2017-18, 156,000 children across England left primary school not having reached the expected standard in reading*. Not being able to read well, or being able to enjoy books, can have a devastating effect on a child’s future, holding them back at every stage of their life.  

That’s why the i has launched this important campaign, to encourage readers who can, to volunteer their time and help us reach more children than ever before – helping them to read, grow and thrive. 

Apply to be a volunteer with Coram Beanstalk and help a child to read.

What we do

In the last academic year 3,700 Coram Beanstalk volunteers supported 13,400 children in early years settings and primary schools. They helped engage children in books and stories, bringing the fun and magic back in to reading for children whose reading confidence and enjoyment may have been lost for a variety of different reasons.  

Our volunteers have the time on a regular basis to work with these children one-to-one, reading together, exploring books specific to an individual child’s interests, using books to prompt discussion on a range of topics and encouraging them to consider their own thoughts and ideas. Becoming a reader opens a world of possibility and opportunity for children. No child should be left behind because they can’t read well. 

This year we are aiming to support 15,000 children through the help of 4,000 reading helpers, delivered through a range of programmes, growing to 20,000 children in 2020-21.  

By joining forces with i News we have a unique opportunity to reach this target, by urging as many readers who are able, to become reading helpers and support children in their local areas to read well and confidently. 

How to volunteer 

You can find out more about what is involved in becoming a reading helper on our volunteering pages where, once you feel this is the right role for you, you can also complete an online application form

There are two programmes we need volunteers for; our Reading 321 programme for children age 5-13 and our early years Story Starters programme for children age 3-5.

As a priority we have a need for reading helpers in specific areas of the country, and so applications from potential volunteers located in these areas are particularly encouraged: 

  • South East - London-wide, Kent-wide, Medway 
  • Midlands - Birmingham, Wolverhampton, Stoke-On-Trent (Cheshire East, Shropshire and Staffordshire) 
  • East of England - Northampton, Bedford, Milton Keynes 
  • North West - Liverpool, Manchester, Wirral, Southport 
  • Yorkshire - Bradford, Leeds, Doncaster 
  • North East - Middlesbrough, Teesside, Tyneside 
  • South West - Swindon, Gloucester, Somerset 

Don’t have time to volunteer? 

Becoming a reading helper requires your time and commitment, but we know it’s not always possible for everyone who wants to help.  

If you don’t have the time to volunteer but would like to help rewrite the story for children across the UK who struggle with reading, please consider making a donation or supporting our fundraising efforts. This helps us to continue delivering our vital reading programmes to more children in areas of greatest need. 

*According to national statistics from the Department of Education