Berkshire charity seeking to improve literacy after pandemic

Shay Bottomley

A Berkshire charity seeking to improve literacy in schoolchildren held a coffee morning at Thames Hospice on Wednesday.

It comes as schools across the country try to reduce the education gap caused by school closures and remote learning throughout the pandemic.

ABC to Read (Assisting Berkshire Children) trains and supports volunteers in primary schools across the county in helping children to enjoy reading and gain an essential skill for life.

ABC to Read has maintained about 120 volunteers working with 500 children each year to improve their reading skills.

Children are chosen by the schools themselves, whilst the volunteers are selected by the charity, DBS checked, trained and supported in their roles.

One in four children left primary school in 2019 unable to read to the required standard, with the pandemic worsening an already troubling figure.

Unemployed adults are twice as likely to have weak literacy skills as those in full-time employment, according to data from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

Marcia Rowlinson, ABC to Read CEO, said: “It is absolutely crucial to address the education gap caused by COVID-19, to improve the future prospects of our local youngsters.

“Our volunteers are a critical part of the recovery process at this difficult time, bridging that gap and inspiring a love of reading, and we are ever grateful for the ongoing support of our volunteers.”

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