So, as you know I love reading and i love to share my love for books.
I’ve always been interested in helping kids to read…My younger family members live in South Africa so i never had a chance to help them with their reading. But in primary school i loved assisted reading because it was fun to read picture books with the little kids. Then in secondary school i found out about charities that help kids with their reading and i really wanted to volunteer but you had to be 18 years old or over.
Eventually in my 2nd year of university we got an email asking if anyone wanted to volunteer with Save The Children’s Read On Get On campaign. Their aim is to help more primary school kids with their reading since many from poor backgrounds tend to leave primary school without being able to read properly. This can lead to a poorer performance in secondary school and low self esteem (especially if other classmates are way ahead of them). So it’s really important that YOU ARE READING but also that YOU MAKE AN EFFORT WITH ANY KIDS YOU INTERACT WITH TO SHOW THAT READING CAN BE FUN.
Anyways, so once i contacted Save The Children, they put me through to Beanstalk and after filling out their application form, i eventually had an Interview with Beanstalk charity and I had to go through training courses (for safeguarding) and to help us gain skills to help us support different kids with whatever reading difficult they had.
Finally, in October 2014 i was placed in a local primary school. i had three year 4 kids, 2 girls and 1 boy and the reading sessions are 30 mins with each child.
- Since i only had half an hour with each child, we spent 15mins on reading and the other 15 mins on playing games (to help with their confidence or just a bit of fun)
- sometimes we’d spend more time reading the book if they really liked it, especially the boy as he read Non-Fiction books about dinosaurs, transport, animals and various other topics he was interested in
- Games we played: Snap, Guess the Drawing, Story Cubes, (these are amazing for creating awesome stories!) Brainbox, Noughts and Crosses, Hangman and many more other games.
- the children read to me while i listened and corrected them if they made any mistakes then we’d discuss what happened in the book or what they think is going to happen next
What I learnt:
- i am terrible at drawing and they are really good
- i wish i was a kid again
- the imagination of a child is definitely one to be envious about
- creativity is so important and nurturing a love for reading is vital for a child’s development
- comprehension is really important
- it’s good to spend time with kids because you learn a lot from them
we need to spend more time playing games and having fun because that’s also important for developmenti spent a year with these kids and i wish them all the best and i really hope they enjoy reading more to nurture their imaginations
Also, volunteering is helping people and this is such a fun way to help kids nurture a love for reading and also provide them with the skills they need for the future!
The thing is, parents are busy and older siblings have to worry about their own schoolwork and stuff and watching TV tends to be a family affair or something to distract the kids with…or just mindless relaxation. But the benefits of reading are lifelong and we need to do more to promote reading with children especially bed time stories…not only is it a great time to spend with your child/sibling/cousin but also it is incredibly vital for their development. Reading aloud to kids is a whole different experience especially if they hear different voices and act out certain parts. plus it makes them look forward to bed time. i remember i loved being read to before bed…it was usually Enid Blyton. and once i started reading myself i was always stuck in a book, sometimes even past my bedtime!
- Q: What do you think is the best way to get children engaged with language and reading generally?
- Daniel Handler: When I was young, my parents would read me a book and stop at a suspenseful moment, tuck me into bed with the book and a nearby flashlight, and tell me that under no circumstances could I stay up any later to read. The next day they would ignore the fact that the bookmark had moved. (Source: Daniel Handler (aka Lemony Snicket Webchat Transcript)
I loved my time with Beanstalk, but sadly i had to leave because i’m now a graduate seeking employment…and for Beanstalk you have to commit 3hrs per week of your time. So if you know anyone who is working part time or is retired or if you think this seems like your kind of thing…helping the future generation then you should defo apply to be a reading volunteer!