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Supporting Bookmark and getting every child reading

Having the opportunity to volunteer, and give our time and energy to a cause in need, is so important. But with most of us living busy lives it can seem impossible to fit anything else into an already jam-packed schedule. However, what I have learnt through Hopscotch’s work with reading charity Bookmark is that it really doesn’t have to take up too much time at all. Since May this year, I along with my colleagues at Hopscotch have been reading with children aged 5-9 to help them gain essential skills at a crucial age.

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, what are you doing for others?”

Martin Luther King Jr 

With supporting education and the development of young people’s key skills being a passion of all of us here at Hopscotch, joining the Bookmark volunteering programme was a no brainer. Some of the stats around literacy rates in England are really quite shocking:

  • More than 1 in 4 children in England are unable to read well when they leave primary school[1]
  • 43% of adults in England don’t have the literacy skills needed to understand everyday health information[2]
  • Low literacy costs the UK economy £36 billion every year[3]

The pandemic meant that Bookmark had to go online. But this was no bad thing, with volunteers being able to read with young people over a very well-equipped and forward-thinking secure platform from the comfort of their own home. For two 30-minute virtual sessions over six weeks, me and my 7-year-old reader explored the jungle, space and so much more, and I was able to learn about his interests and hobbies as we read together. The online training I completed beforehand meant I was totally prepared to run the session, and knew what to do if my reader didn’t feel like reading (we’ve all been there!) or wanted to take an alternative approach.

Bookmark found that in 2019/20, 92% of their volunteers felt they had a positive impact on a child, and I couldn’t agree more. From feeling immensely proud when my reader nailed a particularly challenging word they had been struggling with, to cracking up over the latest adventure the book was taking us on, I left every session with a smile firmly plastered across my face.   

Bookmark is phasing face-to-face school visits back into their volunteering opportunities, giving their volunteers the option to read with children in person at their school as well as virtually. This hybrid offering makes it flexible and easy to support readers. With 7.1 million adults in England struggling to read, and England has one of the lowest literacy rates in the developed world[4], we’re so proud to be supporting Bookmark and their mission to get every child reading.

Discover more about Bookmark, their volunteering opportunities and how you can get involved by visiting their website.

 

[1] Department for Education

[2] National Literacy Trust

[3] World Literacy Foundation

[4] National Literacy Trust

About the author

Eloise Turner

Eloise has gained lots of marketing and comms knowledge having worked with a range of organisations in the education, women’s health and global logistics industry. With experience in content creation, copywriting and social media she brings her passion for reaching the younger audience when working on projects for Sport England, LifeSkills created with Barclays and RSPCA.

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