The George Oliver Foundation supported Volunteer Reading Help (now known as Beanstalk) to enable the recruitment and training of five new reading helpers.
Beanstalk have a network of skilled volunteers across the UK. Each reading helper works with three specific children each year, giving each child one hour a week of one to one literacy support. So with this funding 15 new children each year will have an opportunity to benefit from the great work that these reading volunteers do.
One of the volunteers sent this feedback that we feel perfectly illustrates the valuable work that Beanstalk do. She began working with a 'selective mute' child who was struggling in all aspects of school with very limited literacy. After many weeks she finally achieved a breakthrough and now six months later writes that - “he is now talking happily to the other children, to teachers and to me. In his excitement to get to his reading sessions, he dashes along the corridor to the library...he can’t wait to rummage through the books, games, paper and colours on the table. I could cry with joy at his progress and happiness. Now I am usually greeted with a big smile and a sparkle of fun in his eye.”
The far-reaching implications of poor literacy are well documented. The link between lack of education (specifically lack of adequate literacy skills) and unemployment, poverty and crime has been researched at length. With this in mind it is clear that Beanstalk are not simply offering help at school but helping these children to develop one of the vital life skills that can safeguard their future.
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About Beanstalk -
Beanstalk have a network of around 1800 trained volunteers who work in primary schools in the 25% most deprived areas of the country. They work with children who very often lack support at home in learning to read. Their parents may not be literate, or may struggle with ill-health, unemployment, low pay or single-parenthood. The children are chosen by their teachers because they struggle with reading and urgently need one-to-one support.
The reading sessions take place in a relaxed environment outside the classroom where the child can read, play games and talk with their reading helper. The one-to-one relationship is often the key element that can produce fantastic results while in a classroom environment the child was falling far behind.
Beanstalk's vision is “a nation of confident children, literate for life”. We are very proud to support their work.