Read With Me Calls for 100 More Volunteers to Ensure Every Child Can Read Well in Gloucestershire

This World Book Day, Gloucestershire literacy project Read With Me is calling for 100 new volunteers to support the roll out of its tried and tested reading programme in schools. 

Since the start of the pandemic, Read With Me has gone back to basics by providing volunteers to read with children in Gloucestershire’s primary schools. Not only has this reversed the deterioration in children’s reading, it has helped put the lives of many disadvantaged children back on track. 

1,500 children each week now benefit from reading with a volunteer – however an extra 100 volunteers are required in the county to take the project to the next level.

Read With Me Founder Linda Cohen said: “We have a wonderful book industry, fantastic authors and amazing independent book shops but on the day that we celebrate books let’s commit to ensuring that EVERY child can benefit from the ability to read and immerse themselves in a good book – or at least be able to read a timetable, scan their shopping at a self-checkout till and read a birthday card.”

“Two out of five children in deprived areas will not be able to read well by the time they go to secondary school* and COVID has made everything worse. Without the ability to read children face a bleak future, unable to take a full part in education or get a job. To break this cycle of deprivation we need to get a grip and ensure that children learn to read well.

“Schools had been hung out to dry during the pandemic, responding to an ever changing landscape with precious little notice from government and at the same time having to provide the social care on which many of the children we see rely upon – their touchstone in an often chaotic world.

“Let’s also be clear that help is not coming to bridge this gap, so we need to step up and sort this out.  It will positively affect every aspect of these children’s lives, their families, and communities.”

Read With Me has 75 volunteers who hear children read and run the “Not So Secret Book Club” events in open spaces in the community where children of all ages are given free books, entertained with treasure hunts, and encouraged to love reading.

In the last year alone Read With Me has given away 10,000 pre-loved quality reading books, all donated by the people of Gloucestershire, many of them to 12 key schools in areas of deprivation.

To find out more about how to volunteer contact:

Julie Jenner, Volunteer Liaison Manager.

*National Literacy Trust