Children's Literary Charity Calls for Volunteers in Wandsworth

Help need to support programmes in borough primary schools

Children's Literary Charity Calls for Volunteers in WandsworthSupport needed for in person and online reading programmes

A children’s literacy charity is calling for volunteers in the borough of Wandsworth to support local children with reading as the new school year approaches.

Bookmark, is bringing its one-to-one reading programmes to local primary schools this September

School disruption due to Covid has had a dramatic impact on some children’s reading in the last year, with primary school children losing on average two months’ progress, and some children much more. Volunteers can help children catch up by volunteering face-to-face in a local primary school, or by volunteering online.

Taking an hour out of your week to read, play games and chat with a child about anything from dinosaurs to distant planets might just brighten up your day and give back to the community.

Bookmark programmes are designed to fit around volunteers’ schedules. Volunteers in Wandsworth can visit local schools for reading sessions, or, if volunteering online suits them better it can all be done from a home computer or laptop. Each reading programme involves two 30-minute sessions a week, for six weeks, with a child aged five to nine. Volunteers receive full training and support and can select their session times to fit their schedule, using the Bookmark app.

When eight-year-old Josh joined the Bookmark programme, he was reading at the level of a five-year-old and was struggling with other aspects of his schoolwork. “Josh wasn’t able to answer very basic questions because he really couldn’t read,” teaching assistant Gabby explained. “It would make him stressed because he didn’t understand. He would get very frustrated and give up on his work easily.”

Since working with a Bookmark volunteer, Josh’s reading has improved dramatically, and his teachers have noticed his confidence growing. “There was a really positive shift towards him starting his work by himself,” Gabby said. “His confidence to speak up in class has improved as well. He never used to want to respond to questions, but now even if he’s wrong, he tries.”

Josh’s volunteer Tia has also found it a positive experience. She started volunteering when she was furloughed during the first lockdown. “Josh was very bright, and we would have long conversations about deep sea creatures and dinosaurs. He also loved medals, so in one session I showed him an old medal that I have, belonging to a relative. He absolutely loved it!”

“Really the best thing about the programme is getting a laugh from your reader, really making a connection with them, and hearing them make progress with their reading, from one session to the next. I just felt satisfied that I had done something worthwhile.”

Volunteering with Bookmark can be rewarding
Volunteering with Bookmark can be rewarding

Bookmark is recruiting volunteers now to read with children this September. To find out more, visit

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August 27, 2021