A Chance to Thrive

Monday, March 22nd, 2021

Business in the Community Ireland

Workday volunteers and their Francis Street readers (image pre-dates pandemic)

 

Teaching children how to read offers them access to a world of information, a chance to thrive, but unless they seek out that world – through curiosity and enjoyment – it will remain shelved in bookshops and libraries.

According to global research, reading enjoyment has been reported as more important for children’s educational success than their family’s socio-economic status (OECD, 2002). It’s not just about their ability to read, many master that; social inclusion is at its best when we can boost the child’s enjoyment of reading.

Our Time to Read literacy programme offers primary school children this chance to thrive. We match businesses with DEIS schools in their community, so that employees can volunteer to read with children in 2nd class. Whether online or in-person, the children love the attention they get from their volunteers and associate reading with something that is fun and enjoyable.

We hear from our schools just how important each interaction is for the children, just how much of a positive impact the volunteers can make.

“Doing the reading together is where the relationship is built, the one-to-one individual attention. One mother, who had thought that her son only liked computer games and wouldn’t be interested in reading at all, was surprised when he said he really wanted to do the programme. Our Workday volunteers are amazing!” – Brendan Goggin, Home School Community Liaison at Francis Street CBS

As recent school closures during the pandemic have disproportionately impacted on children in DEIS schools, Time to Read was moved to the virtual space, with volunteers reading to the children online. It is thanks to the commitment of our local partnerships that this was possible and we know this will continue to narrow the educational gap that exists for these children.

“The pivot to online reading sessions has kept children, families, schools and volunteers connected while the opportunity to read for pleasure, build confidence in reading and discuss books with supportive volunteer has been a great boost for children’s literacy skills. It is a testament to the excellent relationship between Time to Read, local businesses and partner schools that this transition was made possible.” – Dr Eithne Kennedy, Head of the School of Language, Literacy and Early Childhood Education, DCU

For more information on how you can help children thrive through this valuable programme, please check out our website.