Katie sits at her desk with her laptop and monitor, looking at Bookmark's website

Posted: 04 September 2023

What's it Like to Volunteer for Bookmark?

Today is International Literacy Day! You may remember that this time last year, we told you that our new owners, Literacy Capital, donate 0.9% of its net assets every year to literacy charities like Bookmark.

Katie Wylie

Head of Marketing

To further support Bookmark, Halsbury Travel has agreed to give staff an hour a week to volunteer for the charity. Here, Katie Wylie, our Head of Marketing, explains why she wanted to get involved and what it’s like to volunteer for Bookmark.

What inspired you to volunteer?

I was really surprised and saddened to hear how many children leave primary school unable to read at the level that is expected for their age and the devastating impact that can have on their futures. I also have a niece who has struggled with reading. She’s very fortunate to have extra one-to-one support outside of school and it’s really helped her.

As well as improving reading comprehension, one of Bookmark’s core aims is to improve children’s enjoyment of reading. I’ve got really fond memories of reading as a child and the magical worlds it can transport you to. I grew up in the 90s when the Harry Potter books were coming out. Each time the next book in the series was published, I’d stay up all night reading it. I’d love to be able to help a child discover the same joy and excitement that reading can offer.

What does volunteering involve?

A young child sits in front of a laptop with a headset on, smiling at the screen.

Volunteering involves spending one hour per week, split into two 30-minute sessions, reading with a child over a six-week period.

I did the online volunteer programme. There’s an online volunteer hub where you can view all the volunteer sessions that are available. This makes it easy to choose a programme that fits around work and your other commitments.

You’ll be reading with the same child throughout the six-week programme to get to know them and their interests so that you can help them choose books they will enjoy. There are also games to help make the sessions fun and varied.

Do you receive any training?

Yes, the training is really thorough and gives you a lot of tips to help make the sessions more engaging and interactive. There are certain core training modules you have to complete before you can start volunteering. There’s also additional training you can do on topics like phonics if you want to develop your skills further. And there’s a forum called ‘the Guild’ where you can chat with other volunteers and ask for help and advice.

Have you enjoyed volunteering?

I’ve only done a couple of sessions so far, however, it’s been really lovely to see their confidence grow and the pride they feel when they’ve read a difficult word. It’s really beneficial for me as well to feel like I’m giving something back and making a difference in a small way.

Feeling inspired?

Think you or someone you know would like to get involved? Please visit Bookmark’s website for more information.

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