Volunteering for the Time to Read programme has been a brilliant experience, from the level of training we received to the interactions with everyone involved. As someone who has no experience with children, I felt nervous walking into the classroom on day one. My anxiety was short-lived as I was immediately put at ease by the children’s enthusiasm. The positive attitude of the kids was infectious and all of the volunteers left the school after the first morning on a high. This feeling became a weekly routine.
The two boys I read with had a great variety of quality books to choose from. With these tools at hand it was easy to stimulate their imaginations. We regularly took breaks to discuss pressing issues such as sisters, spiders and spaceships. It was these hilarious informal conversations that gave the kids an opportunity to let their personalities shine.
At the start of the second reading session one of the boys sprinted into the classroom and jogged on the spot as he proclaimed at the top of his voice that he was “full of energy and ready to read!”. Luckily I had just finished a coffee on that particular morning.
It was clear that the children were enjoying the programme but it was also hugely rewarding to see notable improvements in their fluency and comprehension.Time to Read provides volunteers and children with a wonderful opportunity to escape from reality for an hour a week and go on an imaginary adventure together.
Sara Stokes-BITC Volunteer
I first started the Time to Read Programme at the end of 2015 and, ever since, my Thursday mornings have been brighter and more fun. As soon as I reach the school for a reading session I instantly relax and switch off from adult/ office mode and get excited to begin.
Before I started the programme I was told that often the volunteers get as much (if not more) enjoyment from taking part as the children do, and for me this is absolutely true. I love chatting to my two readers and finding out more about them, either through general chit-chat, or through the stories we read together, and we have never made it through a full reading session without laughing out loud!
When you are used to working in an adult environment, working alongside children can occasionally be challenging. I have had to learn to be adaptable, and to be mindful of the fact that sometimes the students can be a little tired or they may not be in the mood to read for the entire session. On days like that I read aloud to them or we go through our chosen book and draw pictures based on the characters and their stories.