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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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