"Achievement Partnership Success"

Volunteer Readers at Alma Park

Date: 6th Jul 2017 @ 1:18pm

As some of you may know, Alma Park has a team of volunteer readers.  These are parents and carers, who in their spare time come into the school to listen to children read.  This is a hugely important role, and one that benefits the children massively.

Reading is an important skill- not just for achieving at school, but in life.  The benefits of reading are huge and far-reaching.  Of course, becoming a competent reader is a good thing in itself, but here are some other benefits that you may not be aware of-

  • Reading has been shown to improve concentration and attention span in children
  • Reading improves writing skills
  • Being a confident reader also helps in other subjects at school- not just English! For example, when reading instructions for a maths or science activity.
  • It improves self-confidence
  • Reading encourages creativity and sparks children’s imaginations
  • Reading encourages empathy and can improve social skills- reading about other people and their experiences allows children to put themselves in other’s shoes and consider alternative experiences and view points
  • And reading is a fun, free hobby that can be done anytime, anywhere!

As you can see, helping children to learn to read, and enjoy reading is incredibly rewarding in so many ways.  The teachers at Alma Park already spend a lot of time hearing the children read and sharing a love of books and stories with them, in a variety of ways, but some children may need additional time and support beyond this, and that is where volunteer readers come in!

Often times, volunteers will read with those children for who English may not be their first language, or who perhaps are struggling with their reading or lacking in confidence.  Having some extra one-on-one time to read with an adult for guidance and support is hugely beneficial, and as someone who has been a volunteer reader I can vouch for what a difference this makes, even sometimes within a matter of weeks!

I volunteered as a reader at the start of the school year, and after being given some guidance from the teachers, I was assigned to read with children from year 1 and 2.  The days and times were arranged to suit my own commitments, so it is possible to be a volunteer reader even if you only have a small window of free time each week.

Over the following months I read with a group of children from each of the year groups, and was able to see the progress they made- not just in terms of their vocabulary, phonics and understanding, which is of course fantastic in itself, but also in terms of their confidence, and enjoyment.

It was lovely to see children, who had been hesitant, lacking in confidence, and clearly wishing they didn’t have to sit and read to a stranger, over time blossom and come skipping over with their reading books, keen to read, and tell me about the stories they were reading!

The school needs more volunteer readers, and I would urge anyone who is interested to give it a go.  You don’t need any special skills, and will be given guidance on how best to support the children.  The days and times can be arranged to suit you, and even a small amount of time each week can make a difference.

All volunteer readers will need a DBS check completing- but please don’t let this put you off.  The office staff are available to help you with this, and the school pays, so all you will need to do is fill in a very quick form, and bring in your proof of ID- it really is very simple!

Ultimately, volunteering as a reader at the school is a really wonderful opportunity to get involved, and make a difference.  I often get waves and “hello’s” in the playground from the children I read with, and it’s brilliant to see the progress they are making.

If anyone thinks they might like to become a volunteer reader, or would like more information about what the role involves, please just speak to the staff in the office.  I know they will be delighted to hear from you J



Alma Park Primary School

Errwood Road

Levenshulme, Manchester M19 2PF

T: 0161 224 8789

E: admin@almapark.manchester.sch.uk

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