A Day in the Life of the Young Readers Programme
Posted by Fiona Lewis
Our Young Readers Programme encourages children and young people in disadvantaged communities to read for pleasure. The educational benefits of reading outside of class mean that children who read for pleasure enjoy better opportunities throughout life. Our team of four, based in our office in London, works with schools and libraries all over the United Kingdom to reach over 8000 children a year. Here’s what they get up to on a typical day.
Project Manager Irene has been visiting some of our projects in the North-east of England. “In the morning I’m joined by family support workers and teaching staff from two local school, and the local Children’s Librarian, to talk through how to run one of our programmes helping families to support their children’s literacy. The programme includes fun activities, discussions and trips to the library and bookshop. Everyone is really excited about getting started, and thinking about who they can invite to join the first session. In the afternoon, I’ve been invited to a fantastic ‘beach party’-themed event in a nearby school, where I have fun helping children choose the third and final book of their project, before sharing one of my favourite beach-themed stories (Rover by Michael Rosen) with everyone back in the classroom.”
Caroline is the Programme Manager for the Young Readers Programme. She had been focusing less on the events and more on the long-term and strategic goals of the programme. “Today I’ve spent most of my time thinking about how we can reach as many children and families as possible, with the funding that our corporate partners and trusts and foundations have donated to us. I’ve also been talking to other colleagues at the National Literacy Trust about how to integrate our project work with more strategic work in local areas, thereby ensuring our impact will be sustained through legacy activity in each local authority. Finally, I’m excited by the conversations I’ve been having with BBC Radio 2, who is interested in us being involved in judging the 500 words competition for a second year.”
Alex, our Administrator, has been working on an evaluation of our families project. “With our project year coming to a close, I have been receiving all of the workbooks back from the schools that have been running our families project. Today I have started recording all of the feedback so that we can assess the impact of our projects and use all of the feedback we have to report back to our funders. As well as collating the feedback, I pass on their invoices for payments and chase up any projects that are yet to send in their details. It’s great reading through the workbooks and getting an overview of how the project went with comments from project coordinators, parents and children and details of all the exciting books the families chose and lovely refreshments they enjoyed over the course of the five week programme!”
We’re also currently working on the evaluation of our projects in schools and libraries. Project Manager Lizzie has been working on our end of year review of our projects. She says “It’s really important we can find out what impact our programme has had on the children taking part. We sent out our online survey a few weeks ago and today I’m downloading the responses we have so far so I can see who still needs to complete it. I love this time of the year because you really get a sense of how much of a difference the project can make and that all of the work training and managing and supporting projects has been really worthwhile. I always get distracted reading the comments. One of my favourites today is this one from a librarian in Lurgan, Northern Ireland:
“One boy was reluctant to choose a book on his first visit as he was a poor reader. However he was delighted to see we had ordered a selection of tractor books and stories suitable for his reading ability so he didn’t feel left out. By week three he couldn't wait to see what books we had. He joined the library along with his brother and they are now regular visitors.”
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