Children’s literacy charity appeals for reading volunteers across Portsmouth, Havant and Gosport to help pupils disadvantaged following Covid

VOLUNTEERS are needed to help children across the Portsmouth area catch up on their reading.

Wednesday, 29th December 2021, 4:55 am

Schoolreaders, a national children’s literacy charity, is urgently looking for helpers to start next term in schools across Portsmouth, Havant, and Gosport to help those pupils most disadvantaged following Covid.

According to government data, even before the pandemic, one in four children were leaving primary school unable to read to the required standard according to government data.

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Volunteers are needed.

Schoolreaders volunteers are asked to listen to children read a minimum of once a week in term time and to commit to an academic year.

By applying now, new volunteers will be matched to a partner school and be ready to start once they have completed a mandatory DBS check and virtual safeguarding training.

Jane Whitbread, founder of Schoolreaders, said: ‘Reading, particularly for the youngest children, has been set back enormously by the pandemic and if we don’t rally round now, we risk a generation of children falling behind.

‘Children need positive role models in the classroom and we have many schools who are desperate for Schoolreaders’ help to enable their pupils to catch up.

‘Being one of our volunteers is a very positive thing to do (98 per cent report a positive impact on their wellbeing through volunteering with us) and a way individuals can do their bit to help the next generation, making a difference to the future of children in their communities and providing a crucial supplement to classroom teaching.

‘Children who leave primary school unable to read well cannot access their secondary schooling fully which is likely to affect their life chances.

‘Poor reading skills hinders such simple things as reading instructions, understanding a medicine label or accessing information over the internet which so many of us take for granted.

‘Literacy opens doors, helps learning and brings new opportunities.’

Schoolreaders’ own research, conducted in partnership with the University of Bedfordshire, shows that more than 89 per cent of schools claimed there was an even greater need for Schoolreaders reading support volunteers than before Covid.

To find out more or to apply today to be a Schoolreaders volunteer, visit