Plea for Mansfield volunteers as children lose reading skills during pandemic

Fears that some children have been losing their reading skills during the pandemic have prompted calls for more volunteers in Mansfield.

Tuesday, 6th April 2021, 10:47 am

A plea has gone out for school readers to help listen to children read in the town’s primary schools.

The impact of coronavirus on education has meant that thousands of children have not had the chance to practice their reading during the lockdown.

According to the Schoolreaders charity, in a normal year one in four children leave primary school unable to read well.

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One of the volunteers reads to a child at school (Picture taken before social distancing.)

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Now it is feared that many primary school children have fallen further behind with their reading, with the most disadvantaged pupils now seven months behind their peers.

Children who struggle with reading are more likely to live in poverty and become unemployed as adults, the charity says.

Schoolreaders is now calling for more volunteers in the Mansfield area and says no qualifications are needed.

Readers must go be available between 8.45am and 3.15pm, must be able to commit to a period of time during term time, and must undergo vetting to safeguard the children.

In a statement Schoolreaders said: “All the readers need is a love of reading; some spare time each week and a willingness to go where the children need you most.

"The process to become a Schoolreader takes a few weeks, so please apply now so you can be ready to start as soon as it can be arranged.”

To become a school reader visit www.schoolreaders.org/volunteer-application-form or call 01234 924111 for further information. All volunteers must adhere to school and government guidelines in school.

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Ashley Booker, editor.