How do our Community Literacy Labs work?
Our Labs are divided up into two parts. Children spend 30 minutes working one-to-one with a literacy tutor to address their identified literacy needs. This is the more formal part of the session. They also spend 30 minutes with a volunteer, reading stories and sharing games. Through interacting with children, our volunteers help children to practise their literacy skills in a more relaxed way. Not only that, they also help to promote the development of social skills. All this goes towards helping children to gain confidence and enjoy learning.
Who are our Volunteers?
Our volunteers come from a whole variety of backgrounds. It is important that they have good literacy skills themselves, of course! They need to be empathetic as they need to quickly tune in to a child and respond to their needs and mood. Similarly, they play a vital part in building bridges with parents, helping to create a warm and friendly atmosphere for all. We ask that our volunteers be patient, reliable and flexible to the needs of the children at each session.
What kind of training/support do we give our Volunteers?
Our volunteers are trained in phonics, the method by which children learn to read in school, how to lead a supported reading session and how to model good reading behaviours and support comprehension skills and the development of vocabulary. We also ensure they have safeguarding training and we offer advice in how to deal with challenging behaviour. New volunteers are paired with a more experienced volunteer to start with and also have the chance to observe a tutor to give a sense of what goes on in the formal teaching time. In our Community Literacy Labs, we work together as one big team. There is always be someone on hand to ask for help or advice.
What is the level of commitment?
We ask our volunteers to commit to volunteering a minimum of once a month during school term-time, but they are welcome to do more. Sessions take place either on a Saturday morning or afternoon, or after school during term-time. They last around two and a half hours.
Can Volunteers bring their own ideas?
Absolutely – we love it when our volunteers suggest new activities and ways of doing things. For example, in one of our Community Literacy Labs, two of our volunteers noticed that the children really liked anagrams. So they came up with some of their own based around the countries of the world. The children then solved them using a globe to help them. We’re always happy to have this flexibility within the sessions.
We currently do not have any volunteering opportunities in any of the regions we work in. Please check back at a later date.