Share the joy of a good story

1st February 2022

Did you know that National Storytelling Week starts on January 29th?  For a whole week, until February 5th, schools and other organisations will be giving children and adults the chance to share and tell stories.

National Storytelling Week gives us all a chance to remember our favourite stories, hear new ones and generally share the joy of a good story and this year’s theme is ‘Your Story-My Story’.

What was the first story you remember hearing?  Maybe it was a bedtime story that a parent, carer or grandparent read to you?  Do you remember the way they gave each character a different voice and the way they showed you the pictures to help you follow what was happening?  Did they get you to guess what might happen next?  Do you remember the way your imagination was fired up by the story you were hearing?

Unfortunately, not all children have the opportunity for such a rich and enjoyable reading experience growing up.  There are many parents and carers who maybe don’t have access to books at home, are unable to spare the time, or simply do not have the confidence to read with their children.  This is where Doorstep Library comes in, with our amazing team of reading volunteers.

You can make a massive difference to a child’s life by becoming a reading volunteer with Doorstep Library.  Doorstep Library volunteers literally bring their love of books to a child’s doorstep.  Our unique approach means that pairs of volunteers are welcomed into family homes, on the doorstep or online, bringing a backpack full of books and a pair of stools to sit and read with young children up to the age of 11.  Currently, our volunteers are sharing their love of reading with children living in under-resourced areas of four London boroughs and we are continuing to grow.

As a volunteer you will not be judging, teaching or assessing progress.  There are no inspections or grammar tests!  You are there to read with children and give them the chance to discover the joys of a good story or a fascinating book.  You don’t need to be a reading ‘expert’ or have any special skills, just a love of books and stories.  Your enthusiasm and warmth will give the children you visit enjoyable and positive experiences that they will carry with them throughout their lives.  As you get to know the children and their families, you will be able to choose and offer them books that fit in with their interests and enthusiasms. It is all about the enjoyment!

It was really wonderful to hear Zaya (11) speak about her book choices, why she likes certain types of books instead of others, what excites and motivates her to keep reading. When we first met her a year and a half ago she was shy and barely spoke with us, now she addresses us confidently and during the last session was telling us all about how she prefers action books, with little description and context – she doesn’t think that’s needed if the plot is good! She was so good at articulating her reasons she almost managed to convince us! Mum has also shared with us that Zaya has improved her reading since we’ve been visiting her, and that it’s been noticed at school too.

Of course, there are other benefits too. The time you spend with the children will help to inspire their imagination and boost their creativity.  Reading really is the ‘gift that keeps on giving’ and as the children’s connections with books and reading develop, so will their enjoyment of life.  Reading is a ‘superpower’ that helps children explore, enjoy, understand – even change their world.  By becoming a volunteer with Doorstep Library, you can embed the joy of books and reading in their lives at a crucial stage of their development.  With the inquisitiveness that confidence in – and enjoyment of – reading brings, children can seek out and embrace more opportunities for a fulfilling life.  And, when they are adults, they can pass on this gift to their own children – a wonderful cycle that you helped to begin.

A further benefit of the Doorstep Library approach is that our volunteers spend time with the whole family, lending a listening ear to parents, and signposting them to additional services that might be helpful.  By becoming a reading volunteer with Doorstep Library, you can help families to bond through the power and magic of books and stories, and also help them connect with their community and other vital services.

If National Storytelling Week reminds you of your love of books, your treasured reading memories of your childhood and your wish to share these feelings with others, then please contact Doorstep Library and find out more about how you can pass the gift of reading and books to children who might not have the same opportunities.

Stories belong to everyone, what’s your story? What will you be telling and where will you be telling it?

To find out more please sign up for an online Information Session here.

For more information about becoming a Home Reading Volunteer – click here.