In November 2016, we pledged to the #iwill campaign, to encourage young people to take part in social action and make a real difference in their community and, in turn, the world.
That’s why we launched Reading Leaders. This is a completely new adventure for Beanstalk and we’re thrilled to be able to take part in the #iwill campaign and gain all the support from the team. Reading Leaders is a peer-to-peer programme where the Beanstalk trainers spend a day training the ‘Reading Leaders’, older students within the school, to understand what makes a good reader and to support people who need to improve their reading skills. The Reading Leader then works with younger students within the school to help improve these skills. It’s a win-win situation; the younger student improves their reading confidence and ability and the older student makes a difference within their school, can be seen as a role model, showcases their initiative and, hopefully, plants that seed of desire to get involved more in social action.
Volunteers often say to me ‘I think I get more out of this than the children!’ and this can be said for Reading Leaders. But don’t take it from me, Mark Seymour, Assistant Head Teacher at Longsands Academy refers to Reading Leaders in this comment which I will finish on.
‘There was one boy, Tom, who was a very reluctant reader. I put a lot of thought into who might work with him as I knew that it wouldn’t be easy and I chose Sam. Sam was obviously seen as cool and a well-connected kid who understood the importance of reading. Tom’s reading age improved from 8 years and 8 months to 11 years and 2 months [in the period they worked together]. When I told Sam the results, he had tears in his eyes. He has been the perfect role model for Tom and was able to totally change Tom’s attitude to reading, who admits to loving reading now!’”