Teaching Assistants play a vital role in the classroom. They enable class teachers to focus on delivering their materials to the students, knowing that individuals within the room are being given additional encouragement and support whenever needed. Teaching Assistants are often overlooked as their contribution isn’t always understood outside the school environment.
However, local reading charity ABC to Read have recently begun investing in these crucial helpers, in recognition that they are already in a great position to assist with the work the charity do.
ABC to Read have adapted their Parent Helper scheme, which trains parents how they can support their children with their reading, to be used by Teaching Assistants in the classroom. Schools are able to use their pupil premium allocation to pay for the cost of the course, aiming it at those children who are struggling most with their reading and would therefore benefit from the bespoke mentoring offered by ABC to Read trained helpers.
Janis Dieppe, Headteacher of Tylers Green School, where ABC to Read Parent Helpers already work, said, “Not only have the children become engaged with their mentors but they are so much more confident than they were. The volunteers have really enjoyed their work with the children and have gone the extra mile to find books which particularly interest the children in their sessions.”
The Teaching Assistant training was piloted at Geoffrey Field Junior School in Reading in February. Many of those attending the course commented on how useful it was to understood the reasons why children might be struggling with their reading. They also remarked that the training increased their confidence, equipping them with a variety of different options to engage children in reading, dependent on the individual child.
In its recent annual report, ABC to Read announced an outstanding 99% improvement in general self confidence of the children they work with and a 97% improvement in the children’s attitude towards reading. An impressive 99% of responses recorded that the children who had benefited from an ABC to Read volunteer mentor showed improvement in their overall achievement, 57% of whom showed significant improvement.
Marcia Rowlinson, ABC to Read Chief Operating and Development Officer, said: “The figures from our recent annual report demonstrate the huge benefit of the one-to-one mentoring our volunteers provide for children who are having difficulties with their reading. I’m really pleased that we are now able to expand our training to work with Teaching Assistants who are invaluable in the education and development of children in school.”
ABC to Read are actively looking for new schools to benefit from the Teaching Assistant training scheme. For more information, please visit www.abctoread.org.uk or email firstname.lastname@example.org