'Learning to read well now is going to help them in later life, not just in their SATS. It's more than a life skill, it’s a passion and a love that will go on.'
Sinead is a teacher at a local primary school which partners with Learn to Love to Read. She's discussing the impact Learn to Love to Read volunteers have on the children they read with.
The school read colour-banded books and Sinead explains generally children start on pink and expect to finish year 2 on purple or gold.
'Without Learn to Love to Read some of those children wouldn't make the expected standard. Some may not read at home. So if it's not their day to read with me, they might not be heard reading that day.'
But just as important as the technical ability they gain is the confidence reading regularly gives the children.
'Some children who have read with Learn to Love to Read end up bringing books back into the classroom and wanting to share them. They put on a microphone and they read their book to the class. For some children who struggle with reading, it's a scary thing to read in front of 30 children. But it's given them that confidence, which you can't really teach, or it's difficult to.'
The volunteers are well-versed in phonics, which Sinead thinks is important. But equally as important is the fact that they're there regularly, reading with the same children every week so that they're able to build relationships and knowledge that are really helpful to the children, and to Sinead.
'I can ask them to do specific things, to really help this child and they're all really brilliant at that. And they're good at giving feedback to me. So they might say, "oh this child, we've noticed that they're struggling with this colour band but you've moved them on in the classroom, what do you think about doing this" or "this child has made so much progress can we move them up?"
‘We always have that dialogue. They're only in the corridor, so we're nipping in and out, it's easy to have those chats.'
Sinead remembers one volunteer reading with a child. 'She ended year two on purple - just where she should be, which is amazing. Her text reading and her understanding and enjoyment of a book was just brilliant. You can't ask for more than that.'