From zero to hero!

With a fantastic uptake in our first Right to Read recruitment round of 2017, it seemed apt to reflect on the achievements of our Right to Read volunteers over the past few years. I was delighted with the positive responses from our existing volunteers describing their experiences with the scheme, and to hear that so many volunteers have continued with their placements beyond the one term commitment. Whilst unfortunately publishing all of the wonderful stories isn’t possible in my four hours a week, I wanted to share a few highlights.

‘Some children don’t have the chance to read at home, for a variety of reasons, and to be able to give them that opportunity of reading one-to-one is invaluable.  As the title suggests, I think every child has the right to read and people forget that it is a life skill which takes time to learn, and when you have an enthusiastic person willing to share their love of books and reading, it’s contagious and helps to encourage the children to persevere.’

Anneliese Marshall, The Partners Group

Through my time as a Right to Read intern I have thoroughly enjoyed seeing positive engagement with the scheme from volunteers with a huge range in career background, all keen to learn and help. As adults who rely entirely on reading day to day, it is sometimes hard to imagine being without such a fundamental skill, and encouraging a respect and love for reading among both volunteers and children is something I’m very proud of.

‘I do still volunteer – in fact I now do two sessions, of about an hour and a half each, every week at St George’s Roman Catholic Primary School. The school has been extremely welcoming and I am made to feel that I make a valuable and very valued contribution. Many of the children receive little, if any, help and encouragement from home; so the children themselves are very excited to find someone who can give them some “one to one” time and they really look forward to their special reading time with me.’

Sarah McFarlane, Coalters

Additional uptake of Right to Read volunteering has been a common response, and one I think allows the scheme to speak for itself. The scheme allows volunteers to fit their placement around their work schedules, and as Sarah explains, schools are incredibly grateful for every hour our volunteers give. Having volunteers who enjoy the placements so much that we can’t keep them away is always good to hear!

Good luck to all our upcoming volunteers, I can’t wait to see even more people loving their placements and making a difference.

Jemma Allman, York Cares intern

Opening quote: Eleanor Cranstoun