Ready, Steady, Read is a Hull-based charity that aims to improve literacy in primary school children in the city and encourage a lifelong love of reading by recruiting, training and managing volunteers, placing them in local primary schools as reading mentors.
Established in 2016, the charity has been steadily expanding and is currently working with 17 schools across the city, offering a range of in-person one-to-one reading support and running programmes that encourage and support children with reading from a distance.
Joanne Walker, co-founder of Ready, Steady, Read, said: “During the pandemic, we were unable to place our volunteers in schools, but we came up with some great schemes and initiatives to encourage and support children with their reading, which have been so popular that we’ve continued them since. However, nothing beats one-to-one support in person. Unfortunately, our volunteer numbers drastically diminished because of the pandemic. We’ve been back in schools since the start of the summer term in 2022 but we’re gearing up for the start of the new school year this September and are recruiting volunteers in earnest so that we can support as many children as possible.”
There are 25 volunteers supporting children in schools during this summer term, but this is almost half of the pre-pandemic number and there are even more schools wanting to take part in the scheme and Ready, Steady, Read is seeking more volunteers to allow them to expand further.
Along with providing support for the children themselves, volunteers find the experience extremely rewarding. Di, who has been volunteering with Ready, Steady, Read since 2017, said: “It is such a gratifying experience to be allocated your children at the beginning of the school year, some of whom will barely make eye contact with you. Then by the end of the year their confidence in reading and in you have grown immensely, that cheeky smile says it all.”
Before any volunteers are placed in a school, the charity provides training so that they are up to speed on the latest techniques and practices for teaching and supporting reading, along with attending Hull Safeguarding Board’s Level 1 Safeguarding course. All volunteers must also complete an Enhanced Disclosure and Barred List (DBS) check, which will be arranged by Ready, Steady, Read.
This is a perfect role for anyone with the time and commitment who wants to make a difference to children’s literacy, confidence, and future. Anyone interested in this hugely rewarding volunteering opportunity should visit www.readysteadyread.org where they can find out more about the charity and apply online to volunteer as a reader, or call Joanne Walker on 07949 734175.