Could you give time to support a Wythenshawe student to develop their reading?
It is easy to take reading for granted – and that is because at some point in our lives, someone took the time to help us develop our literacy skills. So, just imagine having left school without the reading ability to complete essential tasks like filling out forms, reading letters or leaflets – all things that are key to getting a job and launching your career.
Aside from education and employment opportunities being significantly limited, research shows those who have poor literacy are much more likely to enter the criminal justice system – more than half of people in prison read below the level expected of a child leaving primary school. Sadly, around one-in-five people find themselves leaving school without the ability to read at the level one would expect, and this has been identified as a particular issue in Wythenshawe.
That is why BW3 launched a brand-new programme aimed at addressing the issue, through an innovative partnership with The Shannon Trust. It has a 20-year track record in delivering a reading programme through one-to-one mentoring and, through our partnership, we are giving business people the chance to train as reading mentors and genuinely have a life-changing impact on young people’s lives. Volunteers are taken through a dedicated training programme and given all the materials to guide their mentee towards dramatically improved literacy levels.
Through a relatively small investment of time each week, those taking part also find themselves developing their skills in communication, coaching and relationship-building. The BW3 Reading Mentoring programme was launched with its 2021/22 School of the Year – St Paul’s – with plans to roll it out with the support of volunteers who step forward to make a difference.
In my 19 years teaching seeing the difference these mentors make has genuinely given me the most pleasure. The mentors are all brilliant and the students love the sessions – I see some of the sessions in my classroom at lunch and they’re top.
Jamie Sharrock, Literacy Lead at St Paul’s