Wednesday 10 September 2014

Read On. Get On.

I'm really pleased to be able to share with you a case study from Save the Children and their Read On. Get On.campaign which launched this week. Reading is the key to unlocking a child’s full potential and one of the best routes out of poverty for our poorest children. In the UK today too many of our children, including 40% of our poorest children, leave primary school without being able to read well and this sets them up for so many struggles as their life progresses. As the mother of a child who is struggling to learn to read I know it is not always easy but it is so necessary that every child has someone patient to work with them and help develop their love of reading.

Save the children have set a target to ensure that by 2025, every child is a confident reader by age 11. One of the ways they are trying to make this happen is through their Born to read program which works in partnership with other charities and recruits volunteers to work in primary schools with children who are struggling with literacy.  Sara is one such volunteer, have a read of what she has to say about her voluntary role -

“My youngest child had just gone to secondary school and I was rattling around at home when I saw the ad [for Born to Read]. I thought it was a great idea. My own children have been really privileged in their education and their access to books, and I loved the idea of helping children learn to love to read. These days it’s all about tablets and social media, and I think we need to go back to the basics.

I had no connection to the school before this. Beanstalk [in partnership with Save the Children] tries to give you a local school. I was given a choice of two and I picked this one because it is a faith school and it’s something I’m familiar with.

I was really worried before I started that I wouldn’t be able to engage with the children or they wouldn’t like me or I wouldn’t know what to do. My two training days at Beanstalk were just fantastic, really comprehensive, and they give you lots of scenarios. You do some role-play and you get lots of other people’s advice.

When I started, the children viewed me as this teacher figure and they just weren’t themselves. They thought ‘who is this strange person and why have I been picked?’ But then you make it fun for them; we started doing crosswords and we played hangman and we read silly poems. I like to get ones that are a little bit cheeky! And when they realised it wasn’t just serious reading then the barriers were broken down and they really transformed and blossomed.

We work one-on-one, that’s really important. I have three children whom I read with and I come in twice a week and we do half-hour slots. You have to gauge their mood: sometimes they just don’t want to read. Once you’ve got them into a book and they’re on a roll, they want to find out what’s happening, but often at the beginning you have to do crosswords or play a game just to settle them down. Reading doesn’t work if it’s only for five minutes: you need to engage them in the story and the characters. Then the half hour is up and I have to take them back up to the classroom and get the next reader. And the hour and half just disappears before you know it.

It’s about focusing on the children. I don’t think children have enough time when someone is actually just looking at and listening to them, and it makes a really big difference. They love it, they like being the centre of attention.

The children have almost reduced me to tears with the joy and enchantment on their faces. I had one little boy, Ishmael, who was obsessed with a particular football team and I would bring in sections from the sport pages of the weekend newspapers. So we would read that but then the football team started doing very badly in the premiership league and he got really annoyed and didn’t want to talk about it anymore. My youngest son is a similar age so I asked him what he liked reading. He gave me Gangsta Granny by David Walliams, one of his own books, so I brought it in for Ishmael and he just transformed. He runs down the stairs to read with me now and he really wanted to take the book home to finish it during the half term. I was so proud that he began to feel so connected with the book. He began to see that there is a world outside football − a world he hadn’t thought about or been introduced to."

It really warms my heart to read that case study and know some children are being opened up to the possibilities that await them and in case you are not familiar with Gangsta Granny here is a short clip of David Walliams himself reading an excerpt in support of the Read on. Get on. campaign.

Why don't you check out the Read on. Get on website, you can sign up for top reading tips (like I have done), make enquiries about becoming a volunteer for the program and also sign the petition.

Sign the petition NOW
Politicians need to do their bit if every child in the UK is going to be reading well by 11. That's why STC are asking all the party leaders to commit to the goal of every child leaving primary school as a confident reader by 2025. With the General Election coming up next May, now is the perfect time to ask politicians to come on board with Read On. Get On. So click that link above and add your support, it takes seconds and you can even opt out of further communication if you so wish.

If you like what you have read and want to stay up-to-date then subscribe by email for free and receive blog posts directly to your in-box - just click the link Subscribe to Mummy From The Heart... by Email or perhaps you like to keep all your blog reading in one place, if that is the case you can follow me on BlogLovin too!Follow on Bloglovin
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...