Today, on World Book Day, Bristol Sport Foundation is delighted to announce that volunteers from Ernst & Young (EY) and Hargreaves Lansdown (HL) will begin delivering reading sessions to help support children who have been identified as having low competency in literacy at two Bristol Primary Schools, St Werburgh’s Primary School and Evergreen Primary Academy in Easton.

The one-to-one virtual reading sessions, taking place via Zoom, will be in addition to the school’s normal curriculum learning and will take place each week on Thursday and Friday mornings for the whole school term. During Reading Recovery, the children will be partnered with the same volunteer as their ‘reading buddy’ and will be reading the children’s book, Who Let The Gods Out by Maz Evans.

Pip Eyles, EY Bristol Corporate Social Responsibility Lead, is joining a group of enthusiastic volunteers taking part in Reading Recovery. Pip says: ‘BSF continue to do incredible work in the local community and we are proud to be part of the team, volunteering and raising much-needed funds. All children, regardless of their background, require the essential skills of literacy and maths and Reading Recovery provides crucial opportunities to support those that need it most, gaining confidence and achieving great things.’

Today’s first session of Reading Recovery takes place on the 25th anniversary of World Book Day, which aims to changes the lives of children through a love of books and shared reading.

‘Our mission is to promote reading for pleasure, offering every child and young person the opportunity to have a book of their own. Reading for pleasure is the single biggest indicator of a child’s future success – more than their family circumstances, their parents’ educational background or their income. We want to see more children, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds, with a life-long habit of reading for pleasure and the improved life chances this brings them.’ (World Book Day website)

Helen Faulkner, Headteacher at St Werburgh’s Primary School says: ‘We’re really excited to be able to offer this opportunity to more children at our school. It is lovely for them to be able to meet and talk to the same reading buddies each week and to enjoy a high-quality book together.’

School closures and disruption to learning during Covid has taken its toll on many children’s learning opportunities and literacy development. Reading Recovery, part of Bristol Sport Foundation’s Nascence project, partners organisations and corporate volunteers with primary schools throughout Greater Bristol, delivering positive reading interventions for young people.

Ben Atkinson, one of the Head Coaches at Bristol Sport Foundation, who will be co-ordinating the sessions says,

‘It’s amazing to be able to continue the success of our Reading Recovery programme with volunteers from EY and HL. Both organisations share our desire to engage and inspire our community by making a positive difference. I’m looking forward to working with all the volunteers, helping them to build meaningful relationships with the children over the coming weeks to get the most out of this impactful programme.’

HL recently donated 60 Chromebooks to our Digital Inclusion Project. Some of these Chromebooks have been given out to children taking part in Reading Recovery, to help them access their virtual sessions as well as other educational resources.

If you would like to find out more about our Nascence Project, please contact Ben Breeze, Bristol Sport Foundation Chief Community Officer.