A children's literacy charity is rallying reading volunteers to sign up in Wandsworth.

As the school year draws to a close, Bookmark is urging volunteers to support children with reading in the Autumn term.

The charity is working with a number of schools in Wandsworth to give children one-to-one reading support.

Bookmark helps children aged five to nine who are at risk of falling behind with their reading, and the programmes are delivered online by trained volunteers.

From September, the charity is also returning to face to face volunteer support in some limited areas, including Wandsworth.

“We’re all ready for a holiday, but we know that many children have fallen behind with their reading this year, and will need our support next term,” said Bookmark Chief Executive Kitty Higgins.

“If you sign up now, you can complete your training online and be ready to help a child get the best start to the school year in September.”

Bookmark’s online volunteers work with each child for six weeks, with two 30-minute sessions a week.

Richmond and Twickenham Times: A child benefitting from charity provides reading support for children. A child benefitting from charity provides reading support for children.

The programme works particularly well for those with work or family commitments as reading sessions can be booked to fit in with the volunteer’s schedule, using the Bookmark app.

In the interactive sessions, volunteers will read stories and play games with children to encourage their confidence and enjoyment of reading.

This support could make all the difference to a child like Luke, age 7.

His parents struggled to keep up with home schooling during lockdown and when he returned to school in September he was significantly behind in his reading.

Now, having worked with a Bookmark volunteer, his teachers estimate he has gained well over a year in his reading age, as his teacher said:

“Luke really enjoys reading with his volunteer, I can always hear him chatting away to her. It’s really brought his interest back to reading.

He’s a fidgety boy, and the format; the talking, reading and playing games as well as it being a 30-minute session, really works for him. He has made huge progress, just amazing.” .

Through its online programme, the charity has been able to support more than 1400 children this year, including vulnerable and key worker children in school during lockdown.

 To sign up as a Bookmark reading volunteer, visit www.bookmarkreading.org/volunteer