ABC to Read – fifteenth anniversary year

As part of its fifteenth birthday celebrations this year, ABC to Read hopes to help a record number of children develop a love of reading to enhance their lives. They will be donating 15 new books to all schools who have worked with them since their founding in 2004 as well as launching a Reading Buddy workshop in secondary schools, training sixth form pupils to support younger ones. They are also planning to support a school and orphanage in Malawi by donating books.

ABC to Read trains and supports volunteers in primary schools across Berkshire, helping hundreds of children each year to enjoy reading, improve their confidence, and gain an essential skill for life. The charity has maintained around 120 volunteers working with 500 children each year. The children are chosen by the schools as those in most need of reading support. The volunteers are selected by the charity and are DBS checked, trained and supported.

Marcia Rowlinson, ABC to Read CEO, said: “Reading is a fundamental building block for life. So many of our local youngsters struggle with this skill but with one-to-one support from our trained volunteers, we have seen incredible improvement and children have had life opportunities restored to them.”

Cilla, who started volunteering with the charity at its beginnings in 2004, said: “Assisting a child to improve their reading and build up their self-confidence is a step towards them attaining their desired qualifications and their chosen career. The ability to read well opens up so many opportunities in life and helping a child to achieve that is a great thing to be able to do. Being an ABC to Read volunteer also presents the opportunity of being a consistent adult in a child’s life. It means a lot that you are devoting that special time to them alone and this can also help to build up their self-esteem.”

With unprecedented numbers of Berkshire primary schools requesting trained mentors to support children who are struggling with their reading, ABC to Read are in need of more volunteers to meet the demand. Even with 130 volunteers currently active in 70 schools in the local area, there are more children who would benefit from one-to-one support with their reading.

With 50 vacancies that could be filled with more volunteers, ABC to Read are always looking for new volunteers to take part in training. For more information about training days or joining the scheme as a school or volunteer mentor, contact: abctoread@btconnect.com.