'There are days when I think: I could really do with this afternoon at home, I've got things to do. But there's never been a day when I've walked out of the school after volunteering and thought: well that was a waste of time.'

Charlie Walton has been volunteering with Learn to Love to Read, reading with children at St Michael's CE school, for almost three years. And she's found it a rewarding experience.

'I will have seen a child sound out and blend some words I didn't expect them to be able to, a child tell me about a book they've picked out from the library, a child tell me about the book they've carried on reading.

'There are not a lot of things you can do where you get that immediate reward,' she says.

'I've had a boy sat opposite me saying "I don't like reading," and by the end of the year come bouncing across to me with his superstar reading sticker, and now whenever I see him he's got a book on his knee.'

She worried about some of the children during the pandemic, especially those who she'd sensed really needed the confidence boost that working with Learn to Love to Read gave them and so she was keen to return to volunteering.

She found Learn to Love to Read’s online training and materials 'really solid,' and the school really helpful.

'It's different: the first week you're very conscious of safety. The second week you're very conscious of the kit we can't use. But then the third week you think: OK, we're starting afresh, and from then it's been a lot easier.

'I started thinking of different ways to work with them, bedding in a bit more to make it more interactive. We do a rhyming game - just to get them thinking about words and sounds.'

What would she say to someone thinking about volunteering?

'I would say listen to the voice on your shoulder telling you to do it. It's good fun, you'll see children improve, and that's enormously rewarding.'

Learn to Love to Read is registered in England and Wales under charity number 1175288 at St Michael's Church, 71 Wimbledon Park Road, Southfields, London SW18 5TT. We use cookies to improve your experience using this website.
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