Could you help a child learn to love books?

It goes without saying that if you read this blog, you will have a passion for books.

The seeds of this enthusiasm will almost certainly have been sewn during your childhood, nurtured by your parents and teachers.

When your own child arrived, you will instinctively have done the same, seeing the sharing of stories as a pleasure, not a chore.

But this doesn’t come naturally to all parents. For a variety of reason, some don’t have the time or abilities to pass on this essential life skill.

Similarly, over-stretched teachers aren’t in a position to devote that extra bit of attention required to help a little one struggling with their reading.

So I was cheered to come across the charity Beanstalk recently.

Its sole mission is to provide one-to-one literacy support to children struggling with reading and confidence.

Beanstalk has more than 3,000 volunteers across England who are trained to go into primary schools to work with these pupils.

They generally commit to supporting three children, twice a week for one academic year.

Their mission is not just to boost their reading ability and vocabulary, but to help them learn to love books and stories.

At the moment, 11,000 children in 1,400 schools benefit from Beanstalk’s army of helpers.

But by 2020, it wants to support 30,000 children a year. It can only do this by recruiting another 5,000 willing helpers.

While I’m not a Beanstalk volunteer yet, I can vouch for the impact a little extra reading support can have.

During my A Levels, I used to go to my local infants’ school on Monday mornings to read with two little boys. It was so rewarding to see their skills grow and confidence blossom, and we developed a lovely friendship.

I sometimes wonder how they are getting on now. Wherever they ended up, I’m certain their lives will be richer for that little extra reading practice – and it was such an easy thing to do.

Inspired? Head to to find out more.


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