10 May 2019


Children at one of Coram Beanstalk’s partner schools in Anfield, Liverpool, organised a special ‘book and cake’ sale with half of the proceeds going to Coram Beanstalk as a ‘thank you’ to their reading helper Valerie.


The activity was part of a project the children were doing on ‘Traditional Tales’. As part of the project the children chose to recognise Valerie and the help she provides on a regular basis with reading at the school as a volunteer.


Mrs McDonald, Head of First School at Anfield Road Primary School, said:


“The children wanted to do something to recognise the time and support Valerie gives to the school so they made their own story books to sell alongside cakes, which the parents were then invited to come and buy. Altogether the children raised £80 which they wanted to then split between Coram Beanstalk and The Dogs Trust. The children really enjoyed it and it goes to show what an impact Valerie has had in the four years she has been volunteering at the school. She is really part of the school community and makes such a difference to the children she supports.”


Valerie has been a volunteer with Coram Beanstalk for over four years at Anfield Road Primary School, close to where she lives. She goes in to the school twice a week to support three children on a one-to-one basis for one academic year. By having this dedicated time with the children, Valerie helps to develop reading skills and wider language acquisition in a fun and engaging way.


"I’m a retired teaching assistant so I’ve always worked with children. When I saw the advert for the volunteer role with Coram Beanstalk in the local press it seemed like such a fantastic opportunity to continue working with children in some way. Being a reading helper I get to know the children and I have always felt welcomed by the school staff, I absolutely love it. There can be challenges when trying to engage children in reading who have found it a struggle. One of the children I supported completely transformed in his reading abilities during our sessions, and it’s lovely that he still says hello when we pass in the school corridors. As a volunteer, going in a few times a week, it doesn’t necessarily feel like you are doing very much at the time, but by the end of the year you do really see what a big difference you’ve made to the children.”


Coram Beanstalk needs more compassionate and caring members of the local community in Liverpool who would like to volunteer as reading helpers in local schools. No experience is required, just a passion to want to help children read well and express themselves confidently. Training and ongoing support is provided by Coram Beanstalk. For more information or to apply, please click here.