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Volunteers needed to support children
Buy this photo » From left, Shanaz Ali, Martina Lukacsova and Bushra Begum-Miah reading at St Ebbes Primary School, Oxford
THE search is on for hundreds of volunteers to go into schools across Oxfordshire and read to children.
As part of the Oxfordshire Reading Campaign, children in up to 81 county primary schools will be getting targeted literacy support from specially trained teaching assistants.
But to run alongside that, the National Literacy Trust, which is co-ordinating the campaign, wants to recruit a volunteer to read one to one with the children taking part.
Leena O’Hara, programme manager for the campaign, said: “The volunteering programme is a complementary programme to support the wider reading outcomes and is much more focused on confidence, aspiration and enjoyment of reading.”
Each Year 2 child involved will work one on one with a volunteer for 20 half-hour sessions over 10 weeks.
Schools that sign up to the campaign will nominate a volunteer co-ordinator, who will receive a day’s training in how to recruit and support volunteers – and help to train them to work with the children who they will be paired with.
The National Literacy Trust is putting together a volunteer handbook specifically for the campaign, and youngsters will be assessed on their reading skills at the beginning of the scheme so they can judge how much progress has been made.
Each volunteer will need to go through Criminal Records Bureau checks and will receive a half day of training from the volunteer co-ordinator.
Ongoing support will be provided by the National Literacy Trust’s volunteering programme manager, and three meetings will be held each year for the co-ordinators.
Ms O’Hara said: “ There will be issues where schools don’t recruit the number of volunteers they need and we will give them advice on how to widen the pool.
“Like with the school improvement strand, there will be schools that have issues and challenges that come up, while some will do brilliantly at getting this set up and will be sharing the things they did to get the volunteering programme set up in other schools.”
Volunteers will be recruited through individual schools, through organisations such as the National Union of Teachers, which is backing the campaign, and through the Oxford Mail. It is hoped the scheme will start in January.
- Anyone who is interested in becoming a volunteer and committing to half an hour a week for 20 weeks should visit oxfordshirereading.co.uk
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