Assisting Berkshire Children to read (ABC to read) was set up in 2004. They recruit, train and support community volunteers to provide one to one mentoring of primary school children in Bekrshire who are struggling to read and lack confidence. Each year our volunteers open the eyes of hundreds of children to the joys of reading, helping them to gain an essential skill for life. ABC to read aims to advance the educaiton of deprived children which in turn helps the local community.
Currently about a quarter of six year olds are struggling with their phonic decoding after their first year at school and still a fifth of seven years who have free school meals are struggling with their reading after their second year. These children deserve extra help with their education and through our project we aim to help reduce deprivation, unemploymnet and poverty in parts of our community by breaking down barriers felt towards reading and education as their is a clear link between poverty and poor literacy.
Our project relies on the efforts of community volunteers. They spend half an hour with each child, twice a week in schoool. The child and their mentor pursue a range of literacy based activities such as playing games, sharing books and enjoying conversation which encourages the building of the children's litearcy skills as well as their confidence and self esteem. The volunteers go through a stringent recruitment and training process including DBS checks and safeguarding. We are the only organisation in Berkshire to offer this crucial service and provide continuing support to our volunteers through the training programme. ABC to read is a non for profit organisation although we do hold reserves for emergency situations to ensure we carry out our promise of supporting the children for a full school year. However we currently have 40 vacancies to fill with a new volunteer and we do rely on grants and donations to help us recruit and train more volunteers to meet the growing demand for our services