How Preact Volunteers Are Helping TutorMate Boost Child Literacy Skills

Child wearing headphones and using the TutorMate learning platform on a laptop

Preact has joined TutorMate, a reading scheme created to help young children who struggle with reading.

The Covid-19 pandemic has negatively impacted the education sector in many different ways. Even prior to Covid-19, a shocking 36% of 11-year-olds, from disadvantaged backgrounds in England, left primary school unable to read English well. The pandemic has only widened this literacy gap, so the need for reading support is more critical than ever.

Our volunteers commit to reading for 30 minutes each week, with a child they’ve been paired with, throughout the academic year. These weekly sessions include, word games and reading short stories, to build reading fluency and confident comprehension. This reduces pressure on teachers who know some students desperately need reading support, but don’t have the resources to devote sufficient 1:1 time themselves.

We proposed this idea to our team, to see how popular the scheme would be, in the hope of securing commitment for a team of ten. We were absolutely stunned at the response; within minutes of announcing it on a company-wide call, we already had enough volunteers to fill two teams!

“As a team, we strive to be as corporately responsible as possible and feel fulfilled both personally and professionally by helping those around us in the community. We want to give our team an opportunity to get involved in charitable initiatives and contribute to causes close to their hearts. In this instance, it’s taking 30 minutes out of the week, to help a child increase their reading confidence.
I’m excited that we’re adding to the employee experience here at Preact; we want the team to feel good about making a positive change. And what better way than helping young children improve core life skills!”

- Leanne Mennie, HR Director

Our volunteers have now begun their weekly sessions, and it’s been amazing to see how rewarding they are finding the experience, and how enthusiastic the children are to learn! It’s also been great to see our team sharing feedback and exchanging tips and tricks to help keep the children engaged.

Here’s what some of our volunteers have shared so far:

“Once I heard about Tutormate, the decision to volunteer was a very easy one to make. Two of my own children are just starting their reading journeys, so I know how important regular practice is and what a difference even half an hour a week can make.
My little Tutormate was instantly engaged and just brought a smile to my face with their enthusiasm and obvious delight in their progress. Their teacher even contacted me afterwards, as they’d overheard the session and wanted to let me know how much my little reader had loved it. Half an hour well spent and one I look forward to each week!”

Mark Lloyd, Solution Architect
    “It’s so nice working for a company who are so passionate about supporting their local community. Taking a few minutes out of my week to help a child improve their literacy skills seemed like a no-brainer to me.
    After only my second session, I have already seen a big difference in my TutorMate’s confidence and enthusiasm for reading, which has given me a great sense of satisfaction and achievement. I look forward to our sessions, and moving up reading levels!”

    Tilly Crowe, Projects Coordinator
      “I had my first session last week and already my student was enthusiastic and did really well! I'm excited to see how he progresses over the coming year. I would highly recommend the TutorMate programme as it’s easy to take part in and very rewarding!”

      Olly Barron, Support Consultant

        For some members of our team, working with young children is a little outside their comfort zone, so it’s doubly rewarding to seem them gain so much confidence from these sessions also.

        A child who can read well will do better at school, and be happier and more confident, so we are proud to play a small part in improving the life chances of young readers.

        We look forward to sharing more of our updates as the academic year continues.

        Learn more about the TutorMate program here.

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