A local literacy charity has celebrated its first birthday with 22 supporters and volunteers during an event in Moor Park.Advertisement
On Friday 11 March, Read Easy Preston attended Moor Park Sports and Social Club, Fulwood, to mark its achievements in improving the skills of local adults who struggle with reading.
The event saw volunteers and supporters gather to hear about the impact of the charity’s work from reading coaches and management.
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Group founder Rachel Coupe said: “I wanted to say a massive thank-you in-person to all our volunteers, supporters and sponsors who have got us to this point, so our birthday seemed the ideal occasion.
“We began the group in lockdown, so some volunteers have only met a handful of others.
“It’s so important that those joining us feel appreciated and included, and we need to listen and learn from one another to carry on improving our service.”
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Guest speakers described their personal experiences with Read Easy and the transformative impact the learning process has on the coaches, readers and their families and friends.
Literacy Specialist and Reading Coach Alison Lay explained how having dyslexic tendencies allows her to understand the readers’ difficulties, spot their strengths and steer them in the right direction.
She told of how she separately coaches two adult learners from different backgrounds.
But both have now made progress on the phonics-based reading programme in just a few months.
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Coordinator Rachel Pearson, who also made the cake for the occasion, spoke emotionally about how her involvement since last May has changed her life.
Rachel said: “Standing up and talking at this event as a key part of the Preston team was unimaginable to me a year ago, having lost self-confidence following my own health battles.”
She used her organisational and people skills to manage up to eight reading pairs and has increased her self-esteem, realising she has a lot to offer other people.
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As the first contact for potential new readers, Rachel receives immense satisfaction from noting the visible changes in the adults, who often feel embarrassed, written off and too old to learn when they first meet.
Rachel and fellow coordinator Kathryn make new learners feel comfortable enough to try the free, confidential, twice-weekly coaching sessions with a trained volunteer.
They said that once onboard, readers look happier, walk taller and are excited to receive certificates as they make progress.
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Karen Wood from the national charity Read Easy UK told attendees that taking the first step is the hardest part.
Karen stressed that teaching someone to read not only affects that person, but the effects ripple out, allowing them to read to their children, learn to drive, be independent and participate in the online world that most take for granted.
She praised the Preston group for their determination and teamwork and spoke about her efforts to offer the model to other parts of the North West.
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Read Easy trains volunteers, who need no prior experience, and pairs them with an adult learner for twice-weekly coaching sessions in an approved local venue such as a library or community centre.
They welcome enquiries from new readers or volunteers.
For more information, contact Rachel Coupe on 07487 577343 or email email@example.com
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Will you be attending Read Easy? Let us know in the comments below.