Beanstalk is a British organisation who says their visions is "a nation of confident children who can read and grow up to lead successful lives."
I grew up with having a bedtime story every night - and if I'm honest, I'd still take one before bed if I could! Every child should have this opportunity, for family bonding as well as education and teaching them how fun books can be. I hope you enjoy hearing about their valuable work, and that it inspires you to give a little more (books, time, your skills - anything!) this week.
What’s your earliest memory of reading? Did you read by torchlight after your parents strictly put you to bed? Which author makes you think of your childhood? These are the memories every child deserves.
Beanstalk is a national charity that recruits and trains local people to volunteer to go into a local primary school to support children who are struggling with their reading. Beanstalk has been
working with schools for almost 40 years to help raise literacy standards.
Why are we needed?
• Almost one in eight children leaves primary school behind in their reading in England.
• Research has shown that literacy leads to low employment prospects, disengagement and is
closely linked with poverty, educational under-achievement, crime and long term unemployment.
Beanstalk helps by providing sustained one-to-one literacy support to children who are falling behind the expected reading level for their age. By sharing dedicated reading time with a trusted adult on a weekly basis, a child can build their confidence around literacy.
In Northamptonshire we are currently supporting over 100 primary schools and nearly 400 children across the county but we currently have more schools and children waiting for reading helpers than we do have volunteers.
What's the impact of the service?
Children are selected for a variety of reasons:
• They may have low confidence in reading
• They may have English as a second or third language
• Their reading may be below the expected national curriculum level
• They may have insufficient reading opportunities (e.g. no books at home, no one to help encourage them to pick up a book).
• They may be a "Looked After Child" who needs a bit of extra guidance.
Our reading helpers come from all walks of life. They are independent, committed individuals with a genuine interest in helping children achieve. Reading helpers spend 30 minutes with each child twice a week, chatting, reading and playing games. They will have the chance to build up a great rapport with the children and tailor the sessions to their individual needs.
We provide training to our reading helpers before they start and further development training in areas such as dyslexia awareness and phonics. We ensure they have resources for their sessions which are suited to the children they’re helping by providing them with Beanstalk book boxes.
‘ The children give me immense joy and pride in seeing children develop during the course of the school year is amazing. I enjoy their smiles, the fun, the stories and their humour’.
~ one of Beanstalk's existing reading helpers
How can you help?
At Beanstalk we look for people with a passion for reading who can give their time to help inspire the next generation of readers.
If you can spare a couple of mornings or afternoons a week during school term time this could be the ideal opportunity for you.
Beanstalk needs reading helpers - badly. However, not everyone has this time to give. Please do check out Beanstalk on Twitter and Facebook though, and see where it takes you. If you don't feel you can give any of your time, get in touch with Beanstalk anyway - there may be other ways you can help (e.g. donating money or books, or helping to spread the word about their excellent and worthwhile work).
Thanks Greg - it's wonderful to hear about such great charity work involving books and literacy here in Northamptonshire. I am all for this! Also, as a bonus, I think my readers will be pleased I'm back to writing and book themed topics after a couple of weeks of environmental issues and... bacon!
See you next week!
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Born To be A Tourist