Solent Unviersity Southampton logo
Solent Unviersity Southampton logo
Skip to main content

Students at Solent University, Southampton have played a key role in enhancing children’s reading confidence as Ready Readers, a literacy project set up in 2023, expands its reach.

15th February 2024
Homepage - News - Standard

11 Education students at Solent have visited pupils at Banister Primary School across six weeks in a project designed to improve the literacy skills of children.

Ready Readers launched with a pilot in January 2023 that invited staff to read with Year 5 children, recognising the importance of literacy skills among young people as a route to both improving outcomes at school and personal wellbeing. Now, after its initial success, Solent’s Widening Participation team has collaborated with academics to invite students to get involved.

Over six weeks, student volunteers have had the chance to practice their learning, grow their confidence in a real-world environment, and make a positive, lasting impact on children and their attitude towards reading. Education student and volunteer, Aaliyah Isaak, says:

“It was such a joy to see my Ready Reader’s confidence grow which in turn confirmed to me this is the right course and I will be able to make a difference to the next generation.”

Ready Readers is an initiative delivered as part of Solent’s Step into Success programme, designed to raise aspirations among young people, increase their transferrable and academic skills, and champion education for all. For undergraduates, volunteering as a Book Buddy brings them closer to local communities and offers experience that aligns with their academic pursuits and career goals.

Banister Primary School’s Literacy Lead, Nicola Waight, says: "It was great to see the children so excited about being able to choose a book they could then keep. Whilst some children are still learning the joy of reading, all the children felt supported in the reading process and have grown in confidence when reading aloud and asking questions to further their own understanding. The Ready Reader program is a wonderful complement to our reading curriculum, and we're pleased to have been offered such a valuable program.”

Reading a book picked by pupils, volunteers have sounded out words, explored meanings and discussed themes. Year 5 pupils at Banister Primary School who took part in the project, say: "My reading buddy helped me to read more fluently” and "I kept reading my book after the sessions and I got more books from the series."

Solent’s Senior Lecturer of Education, Matthew Fleet, says: “Reader Readers serves as a highly effective reading intervention, significantly impacting children's reading abilities. It’s been remarkable to witness how this program has ignited a passion for reading in many children, encouraging them to read for fun outside of school for the first time. Additionally, the scheme provides students studying Education with a wonderful opportunity to gain invaluable experience and develop essential skills."