Children’s literary charity moves to new base in Bedford

Schoolreaders was launched five years ago in Bedfordshire with the aim of providing one-to-one reading support for children in primary schools across the country.
Schoolreaders was launched five years ago in Bedfordshire with the aim of providing one-to-one reading support for children in primary schools across the country.

A charity that uses volunteers to boosts children’s literacy is moving to a new head office in Bedford.

Schoolreaders was launched five years ago in Bedfordshire with the aim of providing one-to-one reading support for children in primary schools across the country.

It started with 12 pilot schools in Bedfordshire and now provides weekly reading sessions for more than 7,500 children each week in more than 400 schools.

Now on the occasion of its fifth anniversary, Schoolreaders has announced that it is moving into Bedford Heights.

Jane Whitbread, founder of Schoolreaders said: “Setting up our new operations base in Bedford Heights is such an exciting stage in the development of our young organisation. This location is particularly fitting as it was in Bedfordshire that we started piloting the Schoolreaders’ scheme five years ago.

“We set out with the simple aim of improving literacy amongst children in this country.

“It’s a sad fact that a quarter of children leaving primary school have not reached the expected level in reading attainment. Many of these children then struggle to keep up with the curriculum at secondary school and this can severely restrict their development and life chances.

“It’s sobering to know that one in seven adults in England lack basic literacy skills and that 46 per cent of people entering the prison system have literacy levels lower than those expected of an 11 year old.”

She added: “Since launch, the number of children receiving reading support from a Schoolreaders’ volunteer has doubled year on year and we are now providing reading sessions for over 7,500 children each week. We expect to double this figure again over the course of the next year when we hope to be supporting over 13,500 children every week.”

Schoolreaders is a non-profit organisation that provides and matches volunteers from the community to listen to children read on a one-to-one basis in local primary schools. Schoolreaders is the only national charity in the UK to be providing this service for free to primary schools.