Being a school reading volunteer

Posted by iChild, January 08, 2020 11:08 AM

By Next Best Thing to Mummy

I am a stroke survivor and have recently gained the courage to go out alone using my electric wheelchair ( rather than with a friend or relative).

To help fill my time I contacted a local primary school to see if I could be a reading volunteer. As I used to be a childminder, the head teacher was keen to make use of my expertise.


She sent me the necessary paperwork  to start the process of getting a DBS check ( safeguarding to ensure that I was a suitable person to go into school). Once I had completed and sent back the forms, I took my identification documents into the school office and a few weeks later my DBS certificate arrived. I then arranged to go into the school. It was decided that I would sit in my wheelchair while listening to several children in year 1 read.

I instantly felt at ease and the children seemed to like me.

One boy offered me a cake - the class were having a cake stall to raise funds.

As the cake was in a cake case I asked him to remove it for me because I only have the use of one hand. Of course, he then wanted to know what had happened to my hand and why I was a wheelchair user. I explained as best I could, then we got down to some reading.

As well as listening to some very good readers, we also discussed the books together. I then wrote a brief note in each child’s reading diary to say how they had done.


The second time that I went to school a boy who had read to me previously was keen to do so again. I could see him hovering, book in hand, waiting while I was listening to another child. Unfortunately, we ran out of time, so the third time I visited I asked the teacher if he could read with me.

He came bouncing over with his book and was eager to tell me that he had gone up a reading level since last time. This particular child was an exceptional reader for his six years so I wasn’t surprised to hear this.

Another boy politely asked if I was his teacher’s boss! I explained who I was and then another child wanted to know how my electric wheelchair worked, so I gave a small demonstration.


As I was getting ready to leave, the teacher thanked me and said that the children were really benefiting from reading to someone else, and asked if I would come again. I assured her that I would be back as I too was benefiting from it, and I hoped that I was putting my love of literature over to the children. Plus I felt that the children were learning about and accepting disabled people.


By Next Best Thing to Mummy
(We've used our own library of images to illustrate this article.)

You can read the original version of her blog here.


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