Bookmark gives children the reading skills they need to succeed

Bookmark is a literacy charity giving children the reading skills and confidence they need for a fair chance in life, through a flexible, volunteer-led programme. For the children who need it, Bookmark is changing their story.

How do we work together? 

Bookmark has been working in partnership with West London Zone since September 2020. During the pandemic, the charity supported pupils with their reading by completing multiple six-week reading programmes with a Bookmark volunteer. Together, we both trialled in-home reading support for a short period, working with children who were learning at home while schools were closed.

In 2022, Bookmark volunteers are supporting children in four West London schools with both online and face-to-face reading programmes. At Mitchell Brook Primary School, analysis from the summer term showed that the teacher’s scores for all the children on the reading programme improved significantly across each of the six measures (comprehension skills, vocabulary, phonics skill, reading fluency, enjoyment of reading and reading confidence). 

What is so important about their work? 

One pupil, Denis* has now completed four reading programmes online with the same volunteer. He was selected to take part in the programme to develop his vocabulary, decoding practice and to improve his comprehension and communication skills. His teacher didn’t originally score him above two for any of the six measures, with a score of zero for enjoyment for reading and reading confidence. 

Denis’s scores at the end of the year reflect the positive impact of the intervention so far. Progress was made with enjoyment in reading (+100%) and reading confidence (+70%). Whilst his scores for comprehension, vocabulary and phonics all increased by 50%. His attitude to reading also shifted. He went from ‘never’ reading at home to reading ‘every day’ and he commented that he liked reading with his volunteer. His volunteer also shared that Denis would request to start the session with reading rather than going straight to a game or activity – “a big step up from the start of our journey when he didn’t want to look at books at all”. 

Plans for the future

With recent reports that literacy among six-year-olds in England has declined to the lowest level in almost a decade following disrupted learning during the pandemic, the need for evidence-based reading support is greater than ever. You can find out more about Bookmark and becoming a reading volunteer here.

*Child’s name has been changed.

together, every child and young person can flourish.