Charity finds a way to improve pupils’ reading skills in Birmingham

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A Your Story pack provided to primary schools in the city’s most deprived areas will include £2000 worth of literacy enhancing services.

Bookmark is a children’s literacy charity that provides volunteer-led reading support for pupils.

They have recently been awarded funding for primary schools in Birmingham.

Up to 100 schools will receive their new Your Story Corner pack, which offers schools the opportunity to develop a good reading culture.

Each pack contains 200 new books for children aged four to nine as well as eight weeks of free access to the Chatter Stars vocabulary development app for children.

Primary schools will also receive an annual subscription to Bookmark’s children’s magazine –“The Story Corner” and a certificate to help encourage reading for pleasure.

Teachers will have 12 months free membership subscription to The National Literacy Trust.

Mary Hyland, head teacher at St. Augustine’s Catholic Primary School in Handsworth, said:
“We are really in need of these books as we are in a deprived area and this will make such a difference.

“The children will get great pleasure from reading these books and it will encourage them to continue reading at school and at home. “

A survey made from Bookmark among teachers in Birmingham found that 10% of schools had no library and 30% of those with library had fewer than 400 books.

The quality, variety and diversity of resources was rated by teachers at just 4 out of a 10.

Sharon Pindar, Founder and Chair of Bookmark, said:
“My mother couldn’t read so I learnt first-hand the impact it can have on a person’s life.

“Struggling with reading can make it difficult to apply for university, complete job applications or access important health information.

“At Bookmark we have a simple mission: we want every child to read and we hope this initiative will make a huge difference to children in the greatest need of support.”

Schools in Birmingham can apply for the Your Story pack via the Bookmark website before May 6.

They are also looking for reading volunteers, particularly among university students and people can apply on www.bookmarkreading.org/volunteer.

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