Newport Free Grammar School teen is helping others teach children how to read

Joe Sivell is helping other volunteers to teach children how to read

Joe Sivell is helping other volunteers to teach children how to read - Credit: Archant

A Saffron Walden teenager is now helping volunteers across the country teach children how to read.

Joe Sivell, who has just finished his GCSEs at Newport Free Grammar School, spent three consecutive summers volunteering at Saffron Walden library, where he helped children with the Library Summer Reading Challenge.

The 16-year-old was asked by his supervisor to share some pointers with new volunteers – and the tips were so good that the Reading Agency has decided to use them on its website to help other volunteers.

“I hoped I could cut to the chase,” Joe said about his technique. “I condensed all of that information into 10 top tips that I thought would help a new volunteer to fit into the role quickly and easily. I hoped that the tips would simplify, and perhaps demystify, the requirements of the job.”

Joe’s 10 top tips include


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? Tell friends, family and neighbours about the Summer Reading Challenge

? Match the enthusiasm of the children. They will be excited to join the Summer Reading Challenge and keen to share what they have read and receive stickers

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? Memorise the information because you are promoting and selling the idea of taking part

? You will seem very big to little children, so get down to their level or sit by them on the chairs

? To avoid being tongue tied, have a few set questions that you can ask to get the conversation underway

? You will have to be prepared to adapt your approach as some children can be very shy

? Remember to smile and look welcoming and approachable.

Cllr John Jowers, Essex County Council cabinet member for libraries, communities and planning, said: “We rely on volunteers. I would like to congratulate Joe on his achievement this year and thank him for his dedication for the last three years.”

Joe has successfully applied to be a Saturday assistant at the Saffron Walden Town Library.

You can find his reading tips here readingactivists.readingagency.org.uk/blog/12.

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