A new chapter is beginning for the first YEP readers to join our Get Leeds Reading campaign.
The big-hearted residents, from across the city, were due to complete their reading helper training with literacy charity Beanstalk today.
And they are expected to start their new roles, supporting struggling youngsters in Leeds primary schools, after the Easter break.
Ann Hirst, of Pudsey, will be helping pupils aged between six and 11 at Park Spring Primary in nearby Swinnow.
The 70-year-old grandmother said: “I’m really looking forward to it as I just think every child should have the right to learn to read. I just think it’s so sad that so many are unable to do it.”
As previously revealed by the YEP, a staggering 1,000 pupils left primary schools in Leeds last year without learning to read properly.
Nationally, 70 per cent of pupils who are permanently excluded from school struggle with basic literacy and a quarter of young offenders are said to have reading skills below those of the average seven year old.
We are urging parents and carers to spend at least 10 minutes EVERY day reading with youngsters.
And we are calling on an army of 50 YEP readers to sign up as volunteer reading helpers with our campaign partner Beanstalk.
By sharing your love of books and providing youngsters with invaluable one-to-one support, you can help give hundreds of children across the city a brighter future .
Ann, a former personal assistant, said: “I think it’s an excellent campaign and would encourage anyone to give it a go.”
*Beanstalk is a national literacy charity that recruits, vets and supports volunteers to help children who have fallen behind with their reading.
The charity trains volunteers to read with pupils in their local primary schools for two 90 minute, one-to-one sessions per week for the school year, term-time only.
No previous experience is required as you will be fully trained.
All you have to provide is a minimum commitment of 12 months and a love of reading.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org – ring 0845 450 0344 or go to www.beanstalkcharity.org.uk.