One-to-one support in school, to help every child learn to read well before they go to secondary school and take a full part in education

The Facts

Children who are unable to read properly at 7 never really catch up. These children do less well at school, have reduced employment choices, earning opportunities and a greater chance of going to prison. Children who can’t read can’t take advantage of their education or play a full part in society.

0 %
Of primary school teachers are concerned about pupils' speech and language
Leave primary school unable to read every year
1 in 0
Five year olds struggles with basic vocabulary

And these statistics are from before Covid made everything even harder for schools, parents and children.

What We Do

Our volunteers hear primary school children read twice a week for 10-15 minutes – we provide one to one time. This creates discussion which in turn improves social and communication skills and builds confidence. This confidence is vital. We help give those children the building blocks of self-belief.

Many of the children we hear don’t have this experience at home. They often have no story at bedtime and sometimes a limited life experience so that even if they can read a word they often can’t understand what it means. Your child, niece, nephew or grandchild has probably been on holiday, to visit relatives, or to the seaside; many of the children we help have never left the area in which they live.

We’re able to help expand their horizons by supporting them in learning to read: a lifetime skill that changes their life chances.

We enhance our impact with supplementary resources – additional books, craft materials, chess sets. We encourage them to fulfil their potential.

How Does Volunteering Work?

Everyone can help a child learn to read and we encourage all members of the community to join us to support our children to become confident readers. We operate in schools across Gloucestershire and can usually offer you a school close by. We provide training in a number of different formats and regular social get togethers to share ideas.

Alternatively, contact our Volunteer Liaison Manager, Julie Jenner.
( or 07765 800231).

“It is so rewarding to see children’s reading skills improve over the weeks, knowing that I’ve played a small part in that.” – Anne, Volunteer


The demand for our service is huge but we’re a small social enterprise with great ambition. To be able to continue with growth and reach every child who needs our support we have to also fundraise.

Everyone can take part. Whether you like cake baking, running, rolling in mud, designing Christmas cards, organising a quiz or singing, we’d welcome your help. This year we’ve benefited from wedding lists, triathlons, burger sales and the Gloucester 10k. The children at our schools have also organised Sprint 10ks to keep the wheels turning.

If you can help do get in touch with founder Linda Cohen.
( or 07791 110906)

Online Shop

You can also support us by purchasing some of our beautiful greetings cards, designed by local artists, or entering our annual raffle.  

“Your work for the children in our county is absolutely incredible”
Mr B, Moat Primary School

For Corporates

Businesses and their employees can play a transforming part in helping children at their local schools and really add to the prospects for the whole community. We have developed a bespoke volunteer programme which allows employees to take part in our work but is designed to sit within your existing volunteer programme and reflect the location of staff whether they’re office based or working from home.

Staff can also choose from a range of volunteer roles. If you want to really boost your CSR credentials and develop some quantifiable social value which will be a key motivator for potential employees and customers, please get in touch to discuss how we can work together. Call founder Linda Cohen on 07791110906 (

“I wanted to say a HUGE thank you for all the hard work of yourself, Julie and the rest of the volunteers. The children have thoroughly enjoyed reading with the volunteers and I am thrilled that Read With Me will be returning next year!”
Miss C, Blue Coat CofE

Our Not So Secret Book Club is now a fixture every week of the school holidays including Christmas. Originally created at the start of the pandemic to provide outside activities for all children when all our provision had disappeared, the Not So Secret Book Club is a free half day session designed for children from tiny toddlers to teens. Always outside – rain or shine – there’s a themed treasure hunt (fun with some facts thrown in – lots of charging about), art and craft activities, storytelling and story creating, a huge selection of free books from which children choose a couple of titles to take home.

Dates and updates are always on our Facebook page!

Our Rhyme With Me Project

We thought we knew most of the challenges we are facing but recently we have spent more time looking at where children are when they arrive at school. 

The truth is that many children have no experience of nursery rhymes, simple stories or clapping games.  As a result, they often have little sense of rhythm and find it difficult to learn new words or sounds. A lack of picture books, and often real-life experiences too, produces 7 year-olds who can’t identify baby animals.

Our new pre-school music, rhyme and story sessions help develop the skills for speech, singing and reading. Above all, they give children bags of confidence. Rhyme With Me also provides a chance for children to become familiar with the school setting whilst providing tea and company for parents and carers.

For Schools

Our service is free. We work as an extension of our partner schools. Our volunteers come into school at the time to suit you. We work with your reading scheme and any new initiatives. We hear each child for 10/15 minutes – twice a week to ensure there is plenty of time to discuss the texts, explain vocabulary and just shoot the breeze.

Our volunteers are reference checked and complete a comprehensive safeguarding course. Each volunteer is DBS checked through your school. We can provide additional books for reading reward schemes and top up class book collections. In some schools, we run Rhyme With Me sessions for pre-schoolers and after school book clubs.

“We have so appreciated your support and the whole Read With Me Team – you make such a difference to our children and we just want to say a huge thank you.” Ms F, Kingsholm Primary

Contact Us

Get in touch to make a real difference.

Speak to our Volunteer Liaison Manager, Julie Jenner, to learn more about being a volunteer and to begin your registration process. 


Or speak to our Founder, Linda Cohen, to discuss how you can support us in other ways, or get in touch if you want Read With Me to support your school.