What's happening?

Volunteer reading helpers in schools – why should we?
15 Jan 2014
by Rebecca Dutton

kirsty-smallman-avatarBy Kirsty Smallman

I’ve always loved reading and I will read just about anything whether it be books, newspapers, magazines or the back of an empty biscuit wrapper.

There is just something about the written word and as a former journalist I probably have a passion for it more than most. That’s why when my two boys were born I made a decision to read to them from a very early age.

Don’t get me wrong for the first several months of their lives both Eddie and Archie were more interested in chewing on books and using them as teething toys than listening to me read but I still did.

And, it was probably one of the best parenting decisions I have ever made. Now they are a little bit bigger, Eddie (4) and Archie (2),  both love books and will sit and read with either me or their dad for ages and as with most young kids Julia Donaldson’s The Gruffallo is a particular favourite

It’s not just a bedtime thing in our household either. Quite often the boys will prefer to look at books than watch television or play with their toys.

And, for Eddie, now he is at school and learning to read for himself  he is starting to discover the magic and adventure books can bring. They are without doubt starting to fuel his little imagination and that is a wonderful thing.

So, when Eddie’s school, Lawley Primary, were looking for volunteer readers to go in and sit with pupils I, for one, jumped at the chance. I couldn’t think of a nicer way to spend a few hours. Sharing my love of books and enthusiasm for reading with other children. Brilliant!

But, there will be those who question why parents should be giving up their spare time to sit and read with pupils when teachers are getting paid to do exactly that. Afterall we send our children to school to learn the fundamentals of reading and writing.

So, is it that teachers are overstretched and over worked with too much paper work? Are class sizes too big or is it simply that parents like me, who have a love of reading, can help enrich the lives of children further by sharing our enthusiasm for reading.

I like to think it is the latter and I’m looking forward to my first volunteer reading session. Afterall, even if I can inspire just one more pupil to pick up a book more often that is a bit of magic and adventure shared!

J&PR are a Shropshire PR agency covering Shrewsbury, Telford, north Shropshire, south Shropshire and parts of Mid and North Wales. As well as working with businesses, organisations and events across the region on PR campaigns J&PR run regular DIY PR Training Courses and DIY Digital PR Training Courses at venues in the county.