More than 2,500 children left primary school in the North East unable to read to the required level over the last year.
Being at a disadvantage of this kind at a young age can have severe consequences on a child’s future, as men and women with poor literacy skills are less likely to be in employment by the age of 30, and a quarter of all young offenders have a reading age below that of a seven-year-old.
Beanstalk, the national children’s literacy charity, provides trained reading helpers to work in schools to ensure that children across the North East can leave school as confident readers.
Emma Rose, Recruitment and Training Executive at Beanstalk, said: “At Beanstalk we support children to read, grow and succeed.
“We recruit volunteers to go in to local primary schools across the borough. One of the main school’s we have worked in for the past couple of years is St. Benet’s in County Durham.
“We are child-led which means we find out what the children are interested in and tailor our resources to them.
“For example, if we’re working with a boy who hates reading and loves football, we’ll get him interested trough reading sports newspaper articles and football skills books.”
Beanstalk wishes to expand their work in the North East and raise more awareness of the hard work and dedication they put in to benefit the lives of the future generation.
In 2013, the charity went into partnership with Save the Children UK and now jointly deliver the Born to Read program in areas across the country.
Each Beanstalk reading helper works with three children and sees each child for two 30-minute sessions a week, during term-time, for a whole year. Together, they read, play and talk. With Beanstalk’s support the child’s approach to learning and enjoying reading is often transformed.
Mrs Rose added: “One of our Golden rules is to help increase the confidence and self-esteem of the children we work with, and we see this through the progress the kids make and the sense of achievement they feel.
“In the words of Dr Seuss, ‘The more that you Read, the more things you will know. The more that your learn the more places you’ll go.’
“Reading is a vital skill needed while at school, while looking for a job, looking after children and our ethos is that all children and young people will have the essential skills needed to grow up and lead successful lives.”
Beanstalk have been working in the North East since 2013 and their work is constantly developing in aims to cover bigger areas of the region and spread their abilities to as many children as possible.