Learn Together Scotland hopes to use the skills of volunteer readers to close the attainment gap by involving older volunteers from the local community in Primary and Secondary schools in Edinburgh and Midlothian.
Listening to children read for just 10 minutes a day improves their reading age, overall ability, confidence and love of learning.
The programme involves older volunteers aged 50+ years and utilises their life skills to help younger generations in the classroom, via support with reading. Volunteering in schools encourages intergenerational contact, helps children develop the skills necessary to succeed, and combats loneliness and isolation amongst older people.
By improving literacy levels and instilling a love of reading at an early age, this simple yet highly effective project has been proven to give children a head start by ensuring the key building blocks of their education are firmly in place. Older volunteers increase social contact, feel part of their communities and are more connected to the younger generation, improving their own health and well-being. Learn Together Scotland volunteers build relationships with the children and young people, helping them to feel more confident and reassured if they make a mistake. Volunteers are trained, and given tips and tricks along with resources to help ease them into their role and feel confident in their teaching abilities.
Volunteers help children realise their potential by improving their ability, self-confidence, and enjoyment of reading. They go into local schools for a minimum of 2-3 hours per week and read with children one to one or in groups. Children also struggling with topics like maths and languages are given assistance on a needs-basis.
Promoting reading while still young – for children across the UK – is important in order for reading to become an established part of their development into adulthood.
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