Volunteer reading helpers bring the joy of reading to children in Teesside 16 October 2017 Volunteer reading helpers have been making a big impact on children in Teesside through sharing their love of reading. John has been a Beanstalk reading helper at a primary school in Stockton-On-Tees for over two years and is passionate about inspiring a new generation of readers. He spends 30 minutes one-to-one with three children twice a week at a local primary school, reading books together and playing games to develop their confidence and inspire a love of reading. “I found out about Beanstalk from a leaflet in the local library. I have been an avid reader since I could read myself and the bug has never left me. I feel this is an essential and valuable skill required to function in a modern society. I also think that reading is good fun. I still enjoy reading every day and feel deeply enough about this to try to pass this enthusiasm on to as many young minds as I can. There have been quite a few highlights in the nearly two years I have been at the school I read at. The kids always seem keen to get started and are a bit disappointed when we finish. We deal with three children at a time, but there seems to be no shortage of 'volunteers' to read with Beanstalk readers!” Low levels of literacy continue to be a persistent problem both nationally and locally. According to the most recent SATS test results, more than 30% of primary school leavers in Middlesbrough did not achieve the expected level in reading. “We work with 22 schools in the Teesside area to help provide one-to-one support for children that struggle with reading and who need that extra support. However, we really need more reading helpers in the area to come forward to ensure that we are able to help more school children achieve the skills, confidence and imagination to reach their true potential,” explains Emma Rose, Team Leader for Beanstalk in the North East. Beanstalk needs more compassionate and caring members of the local community that would like to volunteer as reading helpers in Teesside. For more information or to apply, please visit the website at www.beanstalkcharity.org.uk or call Beanstalk on 0845 450 0307.