Celebrating ARCh: The incredible impact of reading and the unwavering dedication of volunteers

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In the heart of the Oxfordshire community lies a program that has been transforming young lives, one book at a time.

ARCh (Assisted Reading for Children) is a beacon of hope and learning, dedicated to fostering a love for reading among children who need it the most. Last week was Volunteers’ Week, a fitting time to highlight the incredible work done by ARCh and the unsung heroes who make it all possible – the volunteers.

ARCh was established with a simple yet profound mission: to assist children in developing a love for reading, thereby improving their literacy skills and boosting their confidence. The program recognizes that reading is fundamental to a child's educational journey and overall development. However, for various reasons, many children struggle with reading and need extra support. This is where ARCh steps in.

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The program pairs trained volunteers with children in local primary schools who are identified as needing additional help with their reading. Through one-on-one sessions, these volunteers provide not just academic support, but also emotional encouragement. The consistent and personalized attention helps children overcome their reading challenges, making learning an enjoyable and rewarding experience.

ARCh Reading Helpers share stories, play games and inspire a love of books.ARCh Reading Helpers share stories, play games and inspire a love of books.
ARCh Reading Helpers share stories, play games and inspire a love of books.

Volunteers are the backbone of ARCh. They come from diverse backgrounds, united by a shared passion for helping children. Each volunteer undergoes a comprehensive training program that equips them with the necessary skills to effectively support young readers. This training covers various aspects of child development, literacy strategies, and safeguarding, ensuring that volunteers are well-prepared for their roles.

The volunteers commit to spending regular time with their assigned children, typically engaging in reading sessions twice a week. These sessions are more than just about reading; they involve discussions about the stories, activities related to the books, and building a rapport that fosters a supportive learning environment. For many children, these interactions are invaluable, providing them with a positive role model and a trusted adult who believes in their potential.

Jane Rendle, co-founder of ARCh and joint CEO, said “Volunteers Week is a special time for us to acknowledge and celebrate the incredible work of ARCh reading helpers. Their dedication and generosity are the lifeblood of the charity. Without their unwavering support, many children would continue to struggle, missing out on the joy and opportunities that reading can bring. We send enormous thanks to them all!”

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If you have a passion for reading and a desire to make a difference, consider becoming an ARCh volunteer. By dedicating just a few hours a week, you can help shape a brighter future for our community's children.

To learn more about ARCh and how you can get involved, visit their website archoxfordshire.org.uk/ or email [email protected]

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