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Busy readers school group

Launched in September 2013, Busy Readers trains volunteers to listen to children read in local primary schools. We make it easy as possible for volunteers and schools to join the scheme, as we provide the necessary training and DSB checks for the volunteers.

To date over 120 volunteers, including a group of students from Queen Elizabeth Sixth Form College, have been trained and placed in the following primary schools:

  • Cockerton Church of England Primary School
  • Corporation Road Community Primary School
  • Reid Street School Primary School
  • Federation of Mowden Schools
  • Northwood Primary School
  • Heathfield Primary School
  • Red Hall Primary School
  • Marchbank Free School
  • Gurney Pease Academy
  • Springfield Academy
  • West Park Academy

Volunteers attend the same school for one hour per week, with some dedicating more of their time to listen to children read at a mutually agreed time.

A brief training session equips volunteers with an understanding of how children are taught to read and the practical skills and tips needed to help the children develop their literacy skills.

Further information is available Busy Readers Information


Training Session

Details of the next training session are to be confirmed. To register your interest please complete the Busy Readers Registration form and return it to Chelsea Johnson, Darlington Cares Programme Officer.


The Busy Reader Experience

“The nicest part about being a Busy Reader volunteer is without doubt the children themselves. I visit Corporate Road School and the smiles on the children’s faces and their instantly raised hands for selection when I enter the classroom, is proof of how much they enjoy having someone different to listen to them read and encourage their progress.
Now in my 2nd year, I have found the experience to be most rewarding. I would encourage anyone with an hour to spare to join the Busy Readers Team. I can assure you, our time is really appreciated within the schools by both staff and pupils”

Rita Wilkinson, Volunteer at Corporation Road Primary School 

“The programme is an excellent opportunity for volunteers to help primary aged children with their reading. I joined the activity in July 2014 through my employer, Department for Education, a business partner of Darlington Cares. However, I have enjoyed the experience so much I am willing to continue in a personal capacity as it is so rewarding to see the progress the children make. Often they don’t get the support at home or enough individual time in school so I take great pride in knowing I have helped them. For just an hour of my time a week, I know I am making a difference to their learning.“

Jane Sallans, Volunteer at Cockerton Primary School 

“I started as a Busy Reader with trepidation. Even though I have two young children of my own, the prospect of a class room of 7 year old’s was daunting. Would they accept me? Would I be able to help? Would I get on with the teaching staff? Would they in reality welcome my help? It is without doubt the most uplifting and gratifying part of my week. Firstly the children are delightful. Extraordinarily well behaved, polite and eager to work. I enjoy most their reaction to stories as their imagination or curiosity are sparked. The class teacher genuinely welcomes my help. As she explains reading is the corner stone to learning and the more guided practice the kids get the better. Best of all seeing them gain confidence in their reading ability as the weeks go by and know that you’ve helped is just a great feeling.”

Seth Pearson, Director, Darlington Partnership