Westminster primary schools wanted for volunteer reading programme  designed to help improve children’s literacy

Westminster primary schools wanted for volunteer reading programme designed to help improve children’s literacy

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Programme launched to help schools support children who are at risk of not reaching the expected level for reading

Literacy charity, Bookmark Reading, is looking to partner with Westminster primary schools that want help in providing reading support to children in years 1 to 3.

Bookmark matches schools with vetted and trained volunteers from the local community, through their easy-to-use digital platform. The reading programme is designed to improve children’s literacy and enjoyment of reading in the early years, when it can have the greatest impact on their future progress.

Bookmark Reading Charity’s CEO, Kitty Higgins, said: “When resources are stretched, it is not always possible for schools to provide extra one-to-one support for every child that is struggling with their reading. That’s where Bookmark can help.”

“Our mission is to help children develop the reading skills they need to succeed in school and beyond, by creating flexible volunteering at the heart of our communities. We do this by supporting schools with trained volunteers from the local area. Our digital platform makes getting the support that schools need easier, keeping administration to a minimum.”

The charity’s six-week reading programme provides children with two, 30-minute face-to-face reading sessions each week with a volunteer, at the cost of just £1 per session (£12 per programme) for the school. Schools have the flexibility to decide how long children stay on the programme, with the option to extend to twelve weeks or more.

The charity also offers five complimentary reading programmes to each school that signs up.

The sessions are designed to support the reading schemes that teachers use in the classroom, as well as encourage reading for pleasure through literacy games and activities. Sessions are booked through Bookmark’s digital platform, meaning that schools simply need to choose dates and times that suit their timetable.

Before they can take part, volunteers must provide the charity with two references, attend a face-to-face interview with trained Bookmark staff, have an enhanced DBS check, pass safeguarding training and complete full training on how to support children to develop their early reading skills and enjoyment of reading.

The charity is currently recruiting schools in Westminster for programmes starting in September 2019 and will be rolling the scheme out nationwide in 2020.

Schools wishing to register their interest, or indeed those who are interested in volunteering with Bookmark, should visit www.bookmarkreading.org

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