Gransnet forums


Beanstalk Reading volunteering

(9 Posts)
Elrel Sun 05-Mar-17 11:09:49

I'm thinking of applying to do this, is anyone already involved? How is it going for you and the children you're supporting?

ninathenana Sun 05-Mar-17 12:44:26

I've done this at a local school for many years. Not through Beanstalk though.
I love it, it realy makes my day to see a child smile at their own achievments and to feel I helped put that smile there.

Nannarose Sun 05-Mar-17 12:51:26

Just personal experience that Beanstalk is a bit 'clunky' - does the recruiting, training and admin which should be useful for schools, but then goes allocating volunteers to schools they find difficult to get to, and because of the 'extra layer' they were less flexible about 'time off'.
We went straight to the local school instead, of course it takes awhile for them to run the DBS check etc. but then more flexible.

Elrel Sun 05-Mar-17 12:57:21

That have verbally agreed to find me a fairly local school on a bus route. I did volunteer at a local school until after a holiday I went as usual only to have someone in admin tell me over the gate intercom 'The school is no longer using volunteers.' That was it, I was miffed but was told that some volunteers who'd done it for many years were very upset and annoyed. The broom of a new head sweeping clean I guess. Several staff left soon after, it happens!

GrannieBabi Sun 05-Mar-17 16:53:11

I have been a Beanstalk volunteer ever since I retired (10 years). I love the interaction with the children and get feedback that their confidence/competence grows. The Beanstalk arrangement that you keep the same three children for the whole school year is key as it allows your relationships to grow. The training was useful, as is the ability to meet and talk to other volunteers, and I have never had any problem with the admin or feeling that it is difficult to take a holiday break during term time. Helping children to improve reading skills, or just gain in confidence is a great feeling. Many children from ordinary families do not get much support at home for lots of reasons, and really blossom with the extra one-to-one attention. I really enjoy doing it and can't recommend it enough!

Elrel Sun 05-Mar-17 17:59:09

Thank you, GrannieBabi!

Welshwife Sun 05-Mar-17 18:00:16

Years ago when I was teaching I went to a talk given by a lady from Haingey in London. They had a very mixed population and for years the reading attainment of the primary children was far below the National Average. They decided to try and address this and got the parents involved. They parents went to meetings and were shown how to listen to their child read. This involved sitting at a table and watching the child all the time. They were also visited at home to see it was being done correctly. Many of the mothers did not speak English let alone read it. After the year the next lot of tests showed that the children were at the national average - I think it must have been the national curve they were using as obviously not all children would be the same level.

The conclusion they came to was that the fact that and adult was giving the child undivided attention for a few minutes every day and encouraging the reading made all the difference.

Elrel Sun 05-Mar-17 18:12:52

Welshwife - impressive and sound as it would help the parent by giving confidence to both child and parent. That's the kind of initiative which should have been put in place nationwide and carefully assessed.
As you say, the undivided attention was key whoever gave it to the child each day. Those parents must have been so proud!

grannyqueenie Sun 05-Mar-17 20:49:33

I haven't done this myself but a good friend in London has been doing it for some time now. She loves it and does 2 half day sessions each week, that's what put me off really I couldn't see myself committing twice a week.