Reading volunteers helping pupils, headteacher says

Whitefriars Infants School pupils
Whitefriars Infants School pupils

The headteacher at a school whose pupils benefit from volunteers helping them learn to read says the scheme has been a big success.

Two volunteers give up their time to assist youngsters at Whitefriars Infants School in Rushden thanks to a scheme organised by literacy charity Beanstalk.

The Telegraph launched its Get Northants Reading campaign last week by teaming up with Beanstalk in order to encourage the improvement of literacy levels in the county, which Beanstalk has said are not good.

Headteacher Debbie Threadgold said children at her school had benefited enormously since they teamed up with Beanstalk and had two volunteer reading helpers, Claire Osbourne and Barry Liffen, each coming in two days a week.

Claire and Barry take reading sessions with one child at a time, each one lasting half an hour.

There are currently a total of 127 volunteers working in 66 schools in Northamptonshire.

Debbie said: “We have the children from the time they start formal schooling from four.

“One of our many jobs is getting them reading from the earliest age.”

And she said the benefits of working alongside Beanstalk had been obvious.

She said: “We have certainly noticed a significant difference in children developing that love of books and reading.

“We obviously wanted to improve progress, and the difficulty is in finding that one-to-one quality time and taking time to share books.

“It’s about that love of reading. We have got one boy who has gone up five reading levels since September. We have got others where it’s given them confidence in their own ability.

“I think it is the age when all those initial reading habits are laid down. The sooner we can get them feeling successful the more they can access the world of reading.

“The families have been so delighted with their children’s progress.”