Literacy hit squads to target three-year-olds | London Evening Standard

Volunteers to catch nursery children before they fall behind with reading.

A leading literacy charity will target three-year-olds for the first time to stop them slipping behind before they even start school - writes

Beanstalk, which has been sending reading volunteers into primary schools for 40 years, will now parachute them into nurseries to catch youngsters before they fall behind.

The charity warned that very young children who have never picked up a book before can end up trailing those who were read to as babies by three months by the time they reach school.

Steve Hawe, Beanstalk spokesman, said: “It’s not rocket science. If you start primary school behind with language skills it can have a massive impact.

“All the evidence is that if children have had that support at a younger age they are three months ahead in literacy and language skills by the time they start primary school. They are then 20 per cent more likely to go on and get five good GCSEs.”

The Evening Standard recruited more than 800 Beanstalk volunteers as part of the Get London Reading campaign. They act as reading mentors to primary school children who are struggling, and read one-to-one with them.

Beanstalk is now recruiting 75 London volunteers to read with children in nurseries in Hackney , Islington, Wandsworth and Barnet. The nursery volunteers will get specialist training because the children they work with will be so young.

The children will be encouraged to point at pictures and repeat words rather than being taught to read. They will use books including Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell, Shark In The Park by Nick Sharratt and Funnybones by Janey and Alan Ahlberg.

Each volunteer will have three children who they will work with twice a week for 20 minutes each.

The “Story Starters” programme is funded by the People’s Postcode Lottery and the books will come from Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. Volunteers are being recruited by Beanstalk.

Mr Hawe said: “It’s natural when you play with a young child and read to them that you point at pictures and use different words that they would not hear in everyday language. Books help young children to read and play and develop language.

“It helps them develop vocabulary so when they get to primary school they are more ready to read. It has a big impact.”

Volunteers can apply at or call 020 7729 4087 for more information.

Red more news of London on our city site.
education Reading Volunteers London
If you notice an error, highlight the text you want and press Ctrl + Enter to report it to the editor
3 reviews in august
I recommend
No recommendations yet


Comments are designed to communicate and discuss the features of an enterprise or event, as well as to find out the interesting questions on it.

'He would come up behind her and whisper in her ear as an excuse to get too close to her'. The girl, who was 16 when she started, was sexually harassed, intimidated and had her hours cut after she rejected her supervisor's advances. She was working 10 hours a week as a receptionist at Pizza Hut Delivery when she was targeted by Sultan Tanha - writes Stratford employment tribunal in east London ruled he subjected her to "unjustified threat...
A British holidaymaker has died following a suspected fight in a popular tourist resort on the Spanish island of Ibiza . The man, named by local police as 23-year-old Conor Lee, is thought to have died following an altercation with a group of men in San Antonio in the early hours of Sunday morning - writes Police have now launched an investigation into the death of the man, who was understood to be staying at the Bergatin Hotel around 10...
Rail commuters are being warned to expect a 3.5 per cent fare increase in 2019, which could see passengers on some longer distance routes paying up to £150 more each year for their travel. Exact fare rises will not be confirmed until the July Retail Prices Indexconsumer inflation measure is released by the Office for National Statistics on Wednesday. However, economists at both Investec and EY Item Club both forecast that the figure, which the Department f...
There is no new money in thegovernment’s flagship £100mfund to eradicate rough sleeping within a decade, the housing secretary has admitted - writes Charities had welcomed the fund as a significant step towards helping the estimated 4,751 people sleeping rough on English streets on any given night. But speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, James Brokenshire said the cash had been“reprioritised” from existing budgets in his department...
Six people – including two pensioners – have been arrested on suspicion of murder after a man in his 50s was found dead at a homein Rochdale - writes The ambulance service altered the police to the man's body after paramedics were called out to the house on Palantine Street shortly after 10.30pm on Saturday. Greater Manchester Police (GMP) immediately launched a murder investigation and arrested a 49-year-old man, a 43-year-old man and a...
A long-awaited expansion of the London District Energy plant in the core of the city is going ahead, but not on the site originally announced. In 2016, Veresen — former owners of the co-generation plant — announced plans to construct a second building across the street from the original plant at Colborne and Bathurst Streets - writes But Enwave, a Toronto-based company that bought the plant last year, has decided to shift gears and expand the e...
A farmer who died while feeding his animals was likely trampled to death by his own cattle, police say. Officers were called to Pinstraw Farm in Groombridge, East Sussex , after the body of a man was found by his partner in field containing Aberdeen Angus cows, calves and a bull - writes Sussex Police said the farmer, named locally as 64-year-old Stephen Sandys, had been pronounced dead at the scene on Friday evening. “At this time we are...
Cyclists have reacted angrily to a post from the Conservatives official Twitter account that suggested new laws would protect "our most vulnerable road users" from bike users. Olympic medallist Chris Boardman, whose mother was killed by a truck when cycling in 2016, said he felt "genuinely sick" after seeing the message on the Tories' official feed. BBC radio presenter Jeremy Vine said:"When I'm on a bike, I'm a vulnerable road user. In 2016 there were 1,7...
A man has been filmed allegedly stealing money from a betting machine in front of stunned onlookers at a Wetherspoons pub in central London. Footage shared on Twitter showed the man, wearing a black baseball cap and sunglasses, force the front of the fruit machine open using a screwdriver, before removing a metal container apparently containing money - writes “No way, I can’t believe it,” one witness can be heard saying as a woman asks, “...