Reading volunteers can help a variety of people learn how to read. There are several opportunities to volunteer with us. You do not need experience of working with children and young people. As long as you have enthusiasm and commitment, the opportunity is open to all. We have a variety of volunteering opportunities:
- Reading volunteers
- Talk volunteers
- 16-18 reading volunteers
- English as an Additional Language reading volunteers
- Language volunteers
We provide training before you begin in your placement to prepare and support you fully for your work with a child or young person so that you feel confident in volunteering in a Sheffield School. Training spaces are limited and reserved upon receipt of your application. We will contact you with a range of available dates.
Training date: 14 November: 9am until 12pm at Moorfoot.
Please read our Welcome Pack if you are interested in applying to volunteer. This pack will give you some general information about the roles, as well as an application form.
The ESCAL Volunteering Team will keep in touch and be available if you require any further assistance or support during your placement. You can also contact us for resource ideas. We offer additional training and workshops to support your volunteering and a number of volunteer drop-in sessions throughout the academic year.
Pupil safety & DBS checks
We ensure that an enhanced DBS check is carried out before you are place in a school. You will need a separate DBS specifically for ESCAL volunteering, even if you already have an existing DBS. We also give you safeguarding support and guidance.
Reading volunteers support children and young people on a one to one basis who are struggling with their reading. Volunteers should provide an hour’s support per week, with a minimum commitment of 10 weeks, with the option to continue.
Talk volunteers support children and young people on a one to one basis who are struggling with their verbal communication skills. These may be children who do not have the confidence to contribute to class discussion. Volunteers should provide an hour’s support per week, with a minimum commitment of 12 weeks, with the option to continue.
16-18 year old reading mentors
16-18 reading mentors support early years' children on a one to one basis in introducing them to books and book handling skills. Sixth form students can make a real difference to Sheffield’s children and young people. Volunteers should provide an hour’s support per week, with a minimum commitment of 6 weeks, with the option to continue.
As students will be working with early years' children, we will need to undertake necessary paperwork in line with the Disqualification under the Childcare Act 2006.
English as an Additional Language (EAL) reading volunteers
Volunteers support EAL (English as an Additional Language) children with:
- book handling skills
- understanding of key words in text
- clarifying and talking about meaning in the home language
These support building their confidence in literacy. Volunteers should provide an hour’s support per week, with a minimum commitment of 10 weeks, with the option to continue.
Modern Foreign Language (MFL) volunteers
We have launched a ‘MFL Volunteer’ project in support of primary school children learning a second or third language. Volunteers support primary school children in-class in learning a foreign language in a fun environment. In supporting MFL learners you will join in with classroom activities, games and songs led by the teacher, to encourage a love for language learning at an early age.
Volunteers should provide an hour’s support per week, with a minimum commitment of 10 weeks, with the option to continue.
ESCAL Volunteer Co-ordinators
We realise that being a School Volunteer Co-ordinator can be challenging. We have tried to alleviate some of the pressure by now ensuring volunteers are fully trained and have undertaken a DBS check before they are matched with a school. We are also able to offer training for volunteers in your school who may need a refresher or additional support.
If you are thinking of setting up ESCAL volunteers in your school, we are able to visit you in school to discuss how the programmes are able to support you. To run ESCAL talk volunteers, you must purchase a copy of the talk volunteer pack.
Looked After Children
As part of our commitment to looked after children, it is our responsibility to ensure all looked after children in the city have access to a reading volunteers should they require one. We will be in touch at the beginning of the academic year to check whether you need ESCAL volunteering to supply any volunteers. If you know you do then please contact us.
After consulting with yourselves as co-ordinators and the volunteers who give their time to go into school, we have found there has been a need for support with resources for the reading volunteers programme. Volunteers now receive a full resource and training pack, along with monthly top tips and additional resources to use in school. We have put together a range of resources linked to certain book titles.
They are only a small selection of what we offer and if you have any set texts that you would like resources creating for then please contact us.
What we need from you
To ensure that our volunteering programmes continue effectively, we would like to clarify that whilst we will be asking schools to supply UPN numbers to track progress of the same children, and capture progression from other reading interventions. The overall aim is to ensure that we can provide evidence of progress from the support of volunteers.
Please make sure every effort is made to send this data to us, as it provides evidence in supporting the volunteering programme and that we are making a difference to Sheffield’s children and young people.
For more information about ESCAL volunteering or setting up an aspect of the programme in your school, please contact us.
ESCAL Volunteering Suggestion Box
We love to hear feedback from our volunteers, schools and partners! We now have an anonymous online suggestion box, for our volunteers, school coordinators and partners to leave feedback, ideas or testimony.
If you would like us to respond to your suggestion, please make a note within the survey. Thank you!