Student in a local bookshop

1 December 2020

3 min read

University of Portsmouth students are volunteering their time to help 100 local children improve their literacy. 

15 students have signed up as reading volunteers at Cottage Grove School in Southsea. Over the coming months they’ll be donating their time  to help build the reading skills and confidence of pupils through a Reading Scheme, run by the University’s Careers and Employability Service. 

Student volunteers are matched with a small group of pupils and sit and listen to each of them read on a one-to-one basis. They then note feedback for teachers and parents on pupils’ pronunciation, confidence and comprehension of the words, to help guide their improvement. Student volunteers will be visiting the school, but social distancing and safety measures are in place to protect all involved while supporting childrens’ development.

More students are also being recruited to support the Pompey Pirates literacy hub - to improve the reading, writing and confidence of children from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Volunteering has definitely shaped my university experience in a positive way.

Dylan Peacock, University of Portsmouth History student

Dylan Peacock, a final year History student at University of Portsmouth has been volunteering as a Reading Volunteer over the past year. He said: “I was able to watch as the class progressed with their reading confidence and capabilities, and it was extremely rewarding to have been able to play a part in aiding their progress along their personal academic journeys.

“Volunteering has definitely shaped my university experience in a positive way. It has enabled me to take some time out from my university course and to do something entirely different to my studies, but very useful for my future career path.”

Cathy Light, Deputy Headteacher at Cottage Grove School said: “The reading scheme run in collaboration with University of Portsmouth benefits our students greatly. Our children love to read with the students and get excited about their weekly visits. Some of these children have nobody who reads with them at home so having this one to one attention really helps foster a love of reading.  We have been doing the scheme for several years now and will continue to do so because of the fantastic benefits it offers." 

Last year 2357 University of Portsmouth students volunteered their time to different projects, offering 60,216 hours and contributing £493,771.20 to the local economy

Julia Hughes, Head of the University’s Career and Employability Service said: "It's really important that projects like this have a successful outcome for both our students and the local community. The Reading Scheme results in not only our students gaining relevant experience for their future careers, but we also know how proud they are to be able to encourage local school children with their reading and share their enjoyment of books. They really enjoy giving something back to the city they have chosen to study in."