Children’s literacy charity Schoolreaders is looking for volunteers to help cultivate a love for reading among primary school students.

The volunteers will spread the joy of reading to children, focusing particularly on Whitehaven, Ellenborough, Carlisle and Workington.

Each year, one in four children leave primary school falling short of the expected reading standard.

The Schoolreaders programme involves volunteers listening to the children read, and committing to weekly sessions for a full academic year.

It prioritises schools with students who require the most support.

A substantial 95 per cent of children who receive assistance from a Schoolreaders volunteer demonstrate improvement in their reading age.

Moreover, the partner schools have reported a positive impact on their students, with an overwhelming 95 per cent improvement in reading confidence and a commendable 87 per cent increase in reading enjoyment.

Children are also said to benefit significantly from the volunteers as positive role models within their learning environment.

Jane Whitbread, founder of Schoolreaders, shed some insight on the issue. She said: "Children who leave primary school unable to read well can’t access their secondary schooling fully which will compromise their life opportunities.

"One in seven adults in England (7.1 million) are functionally illiterate and cannot read instructions on a medicine label, sit a driving theory test or fill in a job application form.

"Working together we can change this."

Ms Whitbread goes on to praise the volunteers' impact.

Ms Whitbread said: "Our Schoolreaders volunteers provide a crucial supplement to classroom teaching and are welcomed by schools and the children.

"If more children gain pleasure from reading from an early age and their reading fluency and confidence improves too, communities and society will reap the benefits."

Sheena, a retired Schoolreaders volunteer, spoke about her experiences helping children find joy in reading.

She said: "For me, establishing a rapport with each child and recognising their uniqueness by making the sessions relevant and fun is what counts and the earlier we can do this the better.

"Reading skills and developing a love of books from the earliest age will hopefully aid children to become confident, interested and engaged readers who read for pleasure."

Anyone interested in volunteering is encouraged to apply at

New applicants will be partnered with a school at the earliest opportunity. They will be ready to start once they have completed a mandatory DBS check and virtual safeguarding training.