Our Time to Read Programme is Ireland’s first business to education reading initiative. It provides 2nd class (7/8/9 year old) children with the opportunity to receive reading support from a business volunteer over a 20 week programme.
Time to Read is going from strength to strength. Our launch of the programme by Minister Ruairi Quinn last December, followed by a feature on Nationwide and a marketing campaign has resulted in an expansion to 24 schools for this current school year. New businesses this year are: Smurfit Kappa, Zurich, Davy, Heatons, Analog, RCI, Arup. The Insurance Institute of Ireland, LionBridge and the ESB have added 3 more sites at Santry, Wilton & Aghada. They join existing businesses Bord Gáis, Elavon, Irish Life, KPMG, Citibank & Workday.
Formal feedback we receive in our evaluations show that the Time to Read initiative is achieving its objectives of increasing the enjoyment of, and confidence in reading whilst encouraging self-discovery for the participating children.
“The participants gained confidence in their own ability to decode and improve fluency. The children looked forward to the contact time with their own reading buddy every week. This one on one approach benefited the children enormously”, school principal.
We are now encouraging all businesses in Ireland to sign up to this initiative. All business volunteers who partake in this programme receive training in advance which provides volunteers with programme details, feedback and support elements, best practice information in terms of reading strategies and child protection guidelines amongst other areas. Volunteers report a great sense of satisfaction from making a significant difference to a child’s life and taking part in a meaningful volunteer initiative. They also found that they leant new skills themselves.
“I have always lacked self- confidence and was always hesitant in putting myself forward for this type of programmes, but now that I have done it I know that I can challenge new things, I think I have learnt as much from the children as they have learnt from me”, company volunteer.
Everyone involved this year, principals, teachers, home school liaison officers and company employees have told us that they would recommend the programme to a colleague. Also, parents reported some of the great benefits to their children.
“X loved every minute of his time to read sessions. He was very fond of both of his readers. He loves reading a story before he goes to bed and we both take turns reading. He has become much more confident with his reading”, Parent.
What a year it has been so far – the programme was officially launched by the then Minister for Education, Ruairi Quinn, at the National Library and Nationwide filmed a short feature about Time to Read showing children from St. Patrick’s Girls National School and their volunteers from the ESB which has given the programme real national profile. So if your company is not yet involved, you can now sign up by contacting Germaine Noonan (firstname.lastname@example.org). Time to Read is a fantastic programme for the children, volunteers and businesses involved.