A few years ago I trained to teach adults to read. As I wrote this for Volunteers’ Week, I can talk about it without it being a humble brag. Why did I choose to do this? I think there’s a lot of support for children at school – whether or not they take it up – but once they’ve left education, there is less help readily and freely available.
It’s easy to fall behind in reading at school, and when children don’t pick up reading, it’s easy to fall behind in every subject. A few years later, those children become adults that struggle to read, and that makes many aspects of life more challenging.
I’m currently teaching someone in their early 20s, and witnessing their progress is amazing. I’m so impressed with their commitment and perseverance. It’s also not been without its humour. Their motivation to get better at reading is because they want to take on more responsibility at work.
The point I really want to make is that volunteering doesn’t have to be heroic or difficult – and all kudos to those that do really challenging work.
I love reading and writing whether for pleasure or work, and it’s no hardship passing this life skill on to someone else. So if you think volunteering may not be for you, or might be something to consider when you have more time, it might be more enjoyable and take less time than you thought. There are so many options to take on things that are fun, and it can also really expand your world.
It’s estimated that 9 million adults in the UK have poor literacy. This affects employment prospects, health and mortality.
I trained with ReadEasy, a great organisation that specialises in teaching adults to read, trains teachers and matches them with readers. Teaching is one-to-one, all resources are provided and it’s free.