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Published 25th Jul 2018

families encouraged to keep reading over the summer holidays

As the summer holidays begin for school children across the North East of England, national reading charity Beanstalk is calling on parents and children to continue reading through the six-week break to prevent a decline in reading progress.

Beanstalk is a national literacy charity that transforms children’s life chances by recruiting and supporting volunteers and placing them in local primary schools. These volunteers work with children who have either fallen behind with their reading, lack confidence, or struggle with their fluency, comprehension or vocabulary. During the summer the charity will be recruiting new volunteers to attend training sessions in Middlesbrough, Newcastle and Durham to ensure enough reading helpers are ready to be placed in schools across the North East from September for children that need extra help.

Ginny Lunn, Chief Executive Officer at Beanstalk, says:

“Children who having been making steady progress during term time and don’t read during the six week break can find they really struggle when they return to school. This means they start the new academic year at a disadvantage, which can really knock their confidence and affect their learning. Our volunteers deliver one-to-one reading support to primary school children that do fall behind, however, continuing to read regularly read at home really helps to ‘exercise’ their reading skills and ensures that when they do go back in September they have the confidence to continue with their reading."

Reading does not have to involve reading a book from cover to cover and the summer break is a time to get outdoors and be active, and there are many ways that reading can be incorporated into activities such as days out, sports and other hobbies. For example, reading the signs at the zoo, taking part in an outdoor treasure hunt, activities such as word searches and reading jokes on a rainy day! There are so many ways to encourage reading through the summer.

“We also support children participating in the Reading Agency's Summer Reading Challenge which is available across public libraries. It’s a great way to encourage children to work towards reading goals in return for rewards. The important thing is to be guided by the children, to ensure that they are reading for pleasure and fun,” adds Ginny.

Over the summer break Beanstalk will be busy recruiting volunteers who can help to support children who struggle with reading in schools across Kent and Medway from September. Each volunteer spends 30 minutes, twice a week, with the same three children in a nearby primary school for a whole academic year.

If you would be interested in becoming a reading helper in a local school, training sessions will be held on the following dates:

29 Aug – Middlesbrough
22 Aug - Newcastle
23 Aug - Durham

To book a place please get in touch with Beanstalk by completing an online application form at or call 0845 450 0307.

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