Charity seeks volunteers to read with schoolchildren

Volunteers provide free one-to-one reading support for primary school pupils.

Volunteers provide free one-to-one reading support for primary school pupils. - Credit: Archant

A literacy charity is looking for volunteers to read with children in schools across North Somerset.

Schoolreaders aims to improve childhood literacy by providing free one-to-one reading practice to children in primary schools.

The charity launched in Somerset last September and 43 primary schools have signed up to the scheme. The organisation is now looking for volunteers to help children improve their reading.

Jane Whitbread, founder of Schoolreaders, said: "Reading is fundamental to a child's development, education and subsequent opportunities in life.

"Children learn to read and then read to learn. However, in this country, one in four children are not reading to the expected standard by the time they leave primary school.

"With poor reading skills, these children are starting their secondary education at a huge disadvantage, and many have difficulty in keeping up with the curriculum."

According to research by the BookTrust, one in seven parents or carers never read their child a bedtime story.

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Just one-third of young children are reading with or being read to by a parent or carer for over an hour a week in total.

BookTrust encourages families to read together for just 10 minutes a day, as this helps develop their language, curiosity, imagination and listening skills, as well as benefiting their academic development, including writing skills.

Jane Whitbread added: "One of the reasons many children are not learning to read well enough is that there is insufficient opportunity for them to read with an adult at home. We hope to encourage people living in Somerset to sign up with Schoolreaders and help children at a local primary school who may not be getting the reading support they need. Our volunteers tell us they are hugely rewarded by going into their local school and knowing that just a few hours helping a child learn to read each week can have such a great impact on their life outcome."

Schoolreaders matches volunteers from the community with a local primary school to listen to children read.

To become a volunteer, log on to or call 01234 924111.