13 September 2018 

Beanstalk in Suffolk is looking for volunteers to become Story Starters in pre-schools and nurseries in Ipswich and across the county as it launches its new early years’ project Story Starters which will help children aged 3-5 become ready to read.    

The project was launched at a volunteer recruitment event held at Highfield Nursery in Ipswich. One of the first settings in Suffolk to roll out the programme. 

Speaking at the launch at Highfield Nursery in Ipswich, Jo Holmes, Area Manager for Beanstalk, said: 

We are really excited to be launching the Story Starters programme in Suffolk which starts right here in Ipswich. It’s a shocking fact that too many children are starting school without essential speaking and language skills which makes it all he more difficult when they begin school. Being read to and talking about books is such an important part of language development and wider understanding of the world. Unfortunately for a variety reasons not all children get the opportunity at home to explore books and talk about them with an adult, so it’s really important that we can be there to provide one-to-one help in early years settings which have identified children at risk of starting school behind their peers. We now want to hear from potential volunteers who could make that difference to a child!”  

Story Starter volunteers will visit an early years setting twice a week and support three children for 20 minutes each. The sessions are fun, interactive and hugely beneficial to the children receiving extra support. The child and volunteer will have access to a box full of books, as well as an additional book every month delivered directly to the trained reading helper and child.  

Lil Newton, Head Teacher at Highfield Nursey, added: 

“We are delighted to be collaborating with Beanstalk on the Story Starters programme and hope that the Ipswich community will support local children in nurseries and schools by volunteering at Story Starters.”  

Research has shown that children who benefit from high-quality support in their early years start school on average three months ahead in their literacy and language skills, compared with children who don’t. According to the Department for Education, more than a quarter of four-and-five-year-olds (28 per cent) lacked the early communication and literacy skills expected by the end of reception year. 

Become a Story Starter volunteer: 

If you would to become a Story Starter in Suffolk, please