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  • 3 minutes
  • 26/04/2023

Chapter One
Online Reading Volunteers

Social Value Portal has been supporting Chapter One in their mission to create a world where all children have the literacy skills needed to thrive.

At Chapter One, learning to read is not just about succeeding in school, it’s about succeeding in life. Their online reading volunteer programme boosts children’s confidence and enjoyment of reading, strengthens their belief that they’re good readers and sparks their excitement about the world of books.

It is not just the technicalities of decoding that our children need. It is the consistency and reliability of the volunteers and the connectivity children experience with them that encourages them. Now more than ever initiatives such as this are invaluable to schools and we are so grateful to Chapter One and the company volunteers who work with them.

Hina Shah, Headteacher, Earlsmead Primary School

Supporting key communities

If children are unable to unlock the power of literacy, their opportunity to thrive in education and life is limited. According to a government report however, only 10% of disadvantaged children who leave primary school each year with their reading below the expected standard, get passes in English and mathematics at GCSE.

Chapter One, a registered charity, has partnered with schools that are based in areas of deprivation; all have a higher than national average (23%) percentage of pupils in receipt of free school meals and many also have over 70% of children who have English as an Additional Language. Watch the video below to see how their programme works in action:

Volunteering with the online reading programme

Chapter One is a great way for companies to enhance their employee value proposition whilst meeting their Social Value commitments. It’s accessible to everyone and has a measurable impact as volunteering hours are recorded on the platform for each individual. At the end of the year, Chapter One provides the company with data on the progress of the children being supported.

Chapter One - Second row of impact data

Social Value Portal staff started volunteering with Chapter One in November 2022 and have so far provided 38 hours of reading support. Online reading volunteers were matched with selected children from schools in Middlesbrough and London and then every week, for 30 minutes, the reading pairs have enjoyed stories and activities together, helping to transform each child’s reading confidence and ability.

This has been such a rewarding experience for me. I have watched a child’s reading get better knowing I have personally contributed to that. It also puts you in a position to think back to your own personal experience as a child and how you would enjoy stories; whether these were read out to you or even trying to read them yourself. Knowing the impact it had on me, I am so happy I get the opportunity to pay it forward. I even find myself looking forward to the weekly read!

, Social Value Advisor at Social Value Portal

Expanding to communities in Manchester Chapter One map of impact

Chapter One has already reached nearly 2000 children this academic year in over 70 schools in 8 regions across the country. They have also launched in Scotland and West Cumbria to enable more children to improve their reading.

From September 2023, they plan to support over 3000 children and have plans to expand to communities in Greater Manchester in the Autumn Term 2023, so if you think your organisation could help please get in touch with them directly here or get in touch with their Business Development Manager, Sarah Taylor, at [email protected]