Charity appeals for volunteers to read with pupils in schools

PUBLISHED: 15:00 30 April 2018

Books for Schools handover. Windwhistle Primary School, Weston-s-Mare.

Books for Schools handover. Windwhistle Primary School, Weston-s-Mare.


A charity is looking for volunteers to read with children in North Somerset’s schools to improve literacy rates.

Help cash-strapped schools by supporting our Books For Schools campaign.Help cash-strapped schools by supporting our Books For Schools campaign.

Beanstalk – a national literacy charity – is keen to recruit more volunteers in the area to work in primary schools and nurseries to help children develop the vital skill.

The helpers work with children who have fallen behind with reading, lack confidence or struggle with their fluency, comprehension or vocabulary.

Beanstalk is searching for people who can spare a few hours a week supporting pupils in primary schools.

Peter Shelton, from Beanstalk, believes the benefits from reading are huge.

Books for Schools handover. Windwhistle Primary School, Weston-s-Mare.Books for Schools handover. Windwhistle Primary School, Weston-s-Mare.

He said: “Life is better when everyone can read well and express themselves confidently.

“However, low levels of literacy continue to be a persistent problem both nationally and locally.”

Evidence shows children achieve better at school across all subjects if they can read well.

Reading for pleasure also improves health and wellbeing, helps children to develop empathy and inspires creativity.

More: Schools can win books by holding a sponsored read.

Beanstalk reading helpers work with three pupils and spend 30 minutes with each child twice a week.

Mr Shelton added: “Very importantly, Beanstalk sessions are meant to be relaxed, informal and fun.

“By having this one-to-one time with each child the reading helper can help to develop the child’s reading skills and wider language acquisition in a fun and engaging way.

“Reading helpers are able to tailor resources to the individual interests to ensure it’s relevant to the child.”

The charity also has opportunities for volunteers to get involved as part of its Story Starters programme, which introduces children, aged three to five, to books and helps them to develop language skills before starting school.

Helpers work one-to-one with children in two 20-minute sessions a week at a nursery or preschool. All volunteers receive training and support.

Beanstalk is supporting the Mercury’s Books For Schools campaign to provide free books to primary schools.

Hundreds of books have been given out across schools so far and the Mercury has plenty more to dish out in the coming weeks.

Books and gift vouchers can be dropped into the Mercury office in Waterloo Street.

For details on volunteering, visit or call 08454 500301.

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