From our volunteers – Reading, the gift that keeps on giving

It’s Christmas Eve, a perfect time to reflect on the enormous number of gifts of time, energy and commitment that have been given throughout 2022 by our growing team of volunteers and supporters and what their sustained giving will mean to the thousands of children who have read with them in school.

We know that quite often the least shiny or costly gift – the one that is never on the ‘wish list’ – turns out to be the most enduring – we’ve all witnessed the power of the robust cardboard box which is more entertaining to a tiny child than any toy – I recently went to a first birthday and watched with satisfaction as a book about a naughty pig and the opportunity for a story on a lap trumped everything else on offer.

Every week our volunteers give several hours to hear a number of children each read for ten or fifteen minutes, that time is hugely precious to not only improve reading skills but also as an opportunity for children to let off steam, share news and build a relationship. Vitally it’s also a happy time on which the children can depend and helps to develop social skills and above all confidence.

Learning to read well is a gift that will play a huge part in determining the outcome for these children and helping to ensure that they have a life with real choice and possibilities and will allow them to make the most of their talents. Every day spent in school demonstrates to us the extraordinary potential of our children.

Our work is only possible thanks to the huge Read With Me community that underpins everything we do. Our volunteers not only hear children read but also: turn up in parks and open spaces every school holiday throughout the year to run our Not So Secret Book Clubs; run singing workshops; direct our Pop Up Pantos; make mountains of cake and gallons of soup and man stalls at our fundraisers; create hundreds of bookmarks and collect and sort thousands of pre loved books to ensure that every child can have their own books at home.

We’ve also benefited from extraordinary generosity from personal donors, charitable trusts and grant organisations.

We have a tiny but terrific Read With Me team which work round the clock, bravely agreeing to scale the operation and taking on more schools (25 at the last count) – we try never to say ‘no’ – saying ‘thank you’ to them just wouldn’t be enough.

If you’d like to join us and give a child the gift of reading in 2023 by volunteering please get in touch.

Wishing you a peaceful Christmas and time to share with your nearest and dearest.