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Let's Read School Volunteer Programme

(Reading in Schools Project)


What is the Let's Read School Volunteer Programme?

A primary school literacy programme which aims to address the link between deprivation and poor educational achievement and raise levels of literacy amongst inner-city children. Through the support of reading volunteers, the programme helps children struggling with their literacy skills to become confident and able readers, to access the education they deserve and achieve their potential.


Why we need reading volunteers?

Reading is a vital skill in today’s world and the first step to education. Being able to read impacts on learning and achievement in every area of the curriculum and children who struggle encounter barriers to learning throughout each day in school. Weak reading skills also prevent children from reading for pleasure and enjoying a world of fiction, not to mention reducing their ability to cope and be independent in the real world.

Additional support at an early age can help decrease the number of children who experience difficulties with literacy later in school and reduce costly consequences (truancy, exclusion and later in life; unemployment, poor health and involvement with the criminal justice system).

Many of the children in our local primary schools struggle with their reading and risk falling behind national literacy levels and being denied real life chances and choices when they move to high school and beyond. Schools work extremely hard to help these children but are not always able to provide the individual time required. Also, for a variety of reasons, many of the children don’t receive any support at home.



Why become a reading volunteer?

You can make a lifelong difference:

By providing weekly individual support to targeted children you not only help to increase their reading levels and literacy attainment but also help to foster a love of reading and a positive attitude to learning.

Evaluation shows that that volunteer support provides the children with an opportunity to develop their language and communication skills as well as increase their self-confidence, self-esteem and social skills. In addition to providing the children with positive role models, volunteers can provide the opportunity to interact with professional people outside the boundaries of school and an insight into the world of work.

It’s rewarding:

Knowing you are making a difference and that the children look forward to your visits is really rewarding. Volunteers from our recent evaluation survey share what they enjoy the most:

 “Seeing the children become more enthusiastic and confident as the weeks go by, they become less shy and ask questions whereas compared to the first week they were really quiet.”

“The interaction with the children and the rest of the class in the way the teacher involves me as part of the ‘team’ in helping them read. If any of my designated children not in there is always lots of hands go up to come and read with me from the rest of the class." 

“The interaction with the children and their enthusiasm and positive outlook. They're always really pleased to see us and they enjoy the work we do together. “  

“I feel as though I am making a difference to someone and giving them 1:1 which they may not be experiencing at home." 

“The children’s enthusiasm, of all reading levels, to want to read with the volunteers.”

And here's what the children have to say - Click here to read 

Get the ‘feel good factor’:

Giving time to the community and providing ‘hands on’ practical support to the children to help them improve their reading, literacy and communication  skills and better their future life chances and choices.

Increase your knowledge and skills:

Develop your own communication skills, confidence and self-esteem as well as increasing your social awareness and knowledge of the education sector.

Get to know the local community:

Increase your understanding of the inner-city neighbourhoods and the different and diverse communities of Leeds.


What opportunities are available to get involved?

We are currently working with a number of primary schools in East Leeds (Harehills, Gipton and Seacroft) and South Leeds (Beeston, Holbeck, Hunslet, Belle Isle and Middleton). Opportunities are available for reading volunteers to work with children at nominated schools in these areas for an hour a week (same day and time each week, usually 1-2pm).


How does it work in school?

The reading sessions usually take place in school libraries, classrooms, shared areas or other suitable spaces. This varies from school to school depending on the space available. During the hour, volunteers work with 3-4 children on an individual basis, spending 15-20 minutes with each child. The time is spent reading and talking about the book and general discussion and chat. Wherever possible volunteers read with the same children each week so that a positive relationship can develop.

Your first visit to the school will usually be an ‘induction’ session where you will meet the member of school staff responsible for the reading volunteers in school. This session will include a tour around the school including where you will read, information on which books the children will read and where you will record their progress. Wherever possible you will be introduced to the children who have been targeted for you to work with.

We will also ensure that you have the contact details for the school so that if, for any reason you are unable to attend your reading session, you can inform the school.



What do I need to do to get involved?

In order to become a reading volunteer, you must

  • Be able to visit a school in East or South Leeds for an hour a week, plus travel time
  • Commit for at least a school year
  • Be fluent in English and a competent reader
  • Believe in the importance of literacy
  • Enjoy spending time with children
  • Have been a resident in the UK for the last 2 years
  • Agree to undertake a Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) Enhanced Check and be able to supply 2 references
  • Attend our 3 hour initial volunteer training session

Our reading volunteers come from all walks of life and volunteer for their own reasons but share a love of books and a desire to help children with their reading, to access the education they deserve and better their future life chances and choices.

We don’t ask for formal qualifications or specific experience but do value the following attributes in our volunteers; patience, enthusiasm, good listeners, good communicators, encouraging and a passion for reading!

If you’d like to get involved with the important and rewarding task of supporting the children, then please complete the Disclosure & Barring Service and application forms and arrange to meet with


Gail Clark at Learning Partnerships  0113 380 6533



Learning Partnerships is a registered charity, number 1003603