Following M&G Investments’ City Giving Day in September 2016, four employees formed The Children’s Literacy Charity’s first-ever team of M&G Investments Literacy Volunteers.
By splitting their allocation of two charitable leave days between April and July 2017, Claire Bews, Rachita Patel, Clare Daly and Jaina Varsani had a combined total of 16 half-days with which to support three pupils via our Literacy Lab at a partner school in a deprived area of Paddington. These children were all struggling to develop age-related literacy expectations and were at risk of falling further behind without immediate help.
These pupils were from economically and educationally disadvantaged backgrounds as evidenced by their receipt of Free School Meals, as well as coming from families where English was spoken as a second language. They were also finding it particularly difficult to develop their reading comprehension skills as they were, on average, 20 months below age-related levels. This was in contrast to their reading skills which were at age-related levels. However, this reading comprehension gap was very concerning as these pupils were preparing to start Secondary School in September 2017.
Upon completing their training and induction, Claire, Rachita, Clare and Jaina began devising lesson plans, exploring the available resources and delivering our intervention (with support) so the three pupils could begin improving their comprehension levels whilst maintaining their reading abilities.
By the end of the three-month long intervention, the efforts of these children and dedication of the M&G Investments Literacy Volunteers had a significant impact. These children made 12 months of reading comprehension gains and were on their way to attaining age-related levels standing them in good-stead for the future. Adam Wisden, Volunteer Manager at The Children’s Literacy Charity mentioned “these results prove this form of corporate volunteering, by our first team of M&G Literacy Volunteers, has been a great success”. The three pupils receiving support were very appreciative making the following comments:
“Thank you for reading with me and being able to help me answer the questions that I didn’t know”.
“Thank you to all for spending your time to help us with the simplest things”.
“Thank you for teaching me reading and comprehension. I really appreciate it very much”.
This last comment is taken from quotes made by Claire, Rachita, Clare and Jaina of M&G Investments and helps sum up their sentiments towards this opportunity:
“The Children’s Literacy Charity is such a worthwhile charity to be involved with. Although initially a little daunted by the prospect of teaching, the professional approach and training provided was thorough with support being provided throughout. The girls were a joy to work with; they were very bright, friendly and had a wonderful attitude so it was a pleasure to help them. It really felt like we made a difference in their reading and comprehension and it’s encouraging to hear of their progression. I would highly recommend the programme to colleagues and hope to be a part of something similar in the future”.
If you would like to find out more about becoming a corporate supporter of The Children’s Literacy Charity and/or accessing team building and charity partnership opportunities to help children develop their literacy skills then please get in touch with Tom Hill (Trusts and Foundations Fundraiser) at The Children’s Literacy Charity on firstname.lastname@example.org or 020 7740 1008.