Literacy Volunteers in schools

Our Literacy Volunteers help children in primary schools and early years settings. Literacy Volunteers don’t teach children how to read, but support them to develop a life-long love of reading for pleasure. They help children on a one-to-one basis to give them confidence in their reading and communication skills through conversation, reading, writing and playing games.

The Role

Literacy Volunteers support primary school children one to one with their reading and communication skills, helping children to love books and to open the doors for life long achievement.
Volunteers are school based and part of a volunteering work force that is transforming children’s lives.
Volunteers go to school once a week, during term time and usually work with 4/5 children. They will see the same children each week, for half an hour each.
The children selected by the school may be behind with their reading, not getting much help at home, have poor conversation skills and /or be lacking in confidence.
A Volunteer will read, talk, play games – board games, word-based educational games, paper and pencil games, crosswords, word searches – and have a fun time with selected children on a one-to-one basis away from the classroom. The sessions run will give the children confidence and help them enjoy reading and communicating.
Volunteers will be placed in a school as close to where they live or travel from as is possible – travel expenses are paid.
Volunteers will be required to complete a small amount of paperwork about their sessions (e.g. keeping records of sessions). These are confidential, kept on school premises at all times and passed onto a staff member at an appropriate time.

Application and Training

All new Volunteers are required to go through a thorough application, training and vetting process.

After initial application new Volunteers may then be asked for an interview and if successful then invited to our training.

Training involves attending two Literacy Volunteer training sessions. Both sessions must be attended. Trainee Volunteers will be made aware of current safeguarding issues and how they apply to both the children they are working with and to their own safer working practices. They will also be asked to complete a Safeguarding Training and Prevent Training course. Both these courses will be done in a Volunteer Trainee’s own time.

Volunteers will be vetted through the Disclosure and Barring Service and the appropriate level of suitability checks will be made. Volunteers will also be asked to supply two referees who we can contact.

A Literacy Volunteer will need to like children, enjoy reading, be flexible and reliable, be a good listener, be patient and encouraging and be able to work with children at their own pace.
Volunteers will need to commit to visiting the school on the same morning or afternoon each week for at least a year.
Volunteers do not need any formal qualifications – training and ongoing support is provided. However, a good level of English is required – equivalent to a Level One Basic Skills in Literacy.
Volunteers should have a positive attitude and be aware of and committed to our Equality and Diversity Policy. Volunteers must respect and value differences in age, ability, disability, culture, race, faith, gender and sexual orientation.
A Volunteer must be 18 years or over.

Ongoing Support

This is a rewarding and enjoyable role for Volunteers and very much valued by our member schools. Many of our Volunteers continue as a Literacy Volunteer for years – sometimes 15 plus! Volunteers work solo in schools with the children they help but as a Volunteer they are not on their own. They are supported at all times by a Volunteer/Schools Co-ordinator and also have a contact in school. A Volunteer/Schools Co-ordinator is the contact for the school and Volunteer and will keep in touch with both regularly. A Volunteer/Schools Co-ordinator will visit a Volunteer in school several times over the school year