A charity in Oxfordshire is issuing an urgent call for volunteers as it works with schools in the county to address the deficit in children’s literacy as a result of the school shutdowns during the pandemic.
A recent Ofsted report suggests that following the first national lockdown, ‘pupils had lost basic literacy skills [with] reading and in particular phonic knowledge of most concern…pupils had fallen behind and sometimes regressed in oracy, reading accuracy and fluency. This was having an impact on their understanding and, as a result, their confidence in being able to read.’
Award-winning charity, ARCh (Assisted Reading for Children), supports the literacy and communication skills of around 1000 children in 120 Oxfordshire primary schools each year, via its network of volunteer Reading Helpers. With the prospect of schools reopening this Spring, and a heightened demand for its service, ARCh is now appealing to individuals and businesses in the local area to join its Reading Helper volunteer programme. With full training provided (currently digital), and safe working practices in place, volunteering with ARCh offers an opportunity to support children’s learning at this crucial time, helping them to catch up on lost literacy skills and to develop a life-enhancing enjoyment of reading.
Many ARCh volunteers build their reading sessions in around the working day, or join as part of a year out, a career transition or through their employer’s Volunteering Scheme.
Jane Rendle, Development Manager and co-founder of ARCh says “Through reading, games and conversation, our volunteers often find the one-to-one sessions as rewarding as the children themselves do. It is a great opportunity to become involved in the local community while also inspiring a love of reading in the children.”