Research from 2014 found that one in five children cannot read well by the age of 11. This issue can carry on into later childhood, with 17% of 15-year-olds in England failing to reach a minimum level of literacy.
The link between reading skills and disadvantage has been explored, with children from disadvantaged backgrounds on average being two and a half years behind in reading level than those from affluent homes upon leaving school*.
Let Leeds Read is a volunteer project that aims to tackle this problem by placing Leeds Beckett students into local schools to listen to school children read.
The project has run for several years and is gaining popularity, recruiting around 40 to 50 students each semester.
Students guide the pupils through reading, supporting them with any words they struggle with and bringing the story to life. This is focused towards boosting reading age but also, to encourage a general love of reading in young people.
As well as having the opportunity to make a real difference to children, Let Leeds Read offers valuable experience for students.
If you are interested in teaching, the project is an ideal opportunity to work with pupils, teachers and within a school. You will also develop your mentoring and communication skills, so Let Leeds Read is a great addition to any students CV.
Eva is a student who has been on Let Leeds Read since September, volunteering at a local primary school for one hour a week. She says that is has been “a great experience. I can feel that the children are really enjoying the time spent reading, where they get undivided 1:1 attention. I'm happy to know that what I'm doing is helping the children to be a more confident reader, which is crucial their future”.
If you would be interested in getting involved in Let Leeds Read, recruitment to start in Semester Two is now open until Friday 8 December 2017. Please email Rhea at firstname.lastname@example.org to request an application form.