About Our Reading Charity

Doorstep Library is a community-focused literacy charity dedicated to bringing the magic of books and the joy of reading directly into the homes of children who need our support.  With one in four 11 year olds leaving primary school unable to read or write properly, we recruit and train home and online reading volunteers to go into disadvantaged areas of London and beyond to help introduce young children (aged 0-11 years) to the pleasure and benefits of reading.

Our work is concentrated in areas where we know opportunities for reading are restricted – there may be limited access to books in the home or language barriers may be preventing parents or carers from being able to provide additional reading support to the children in their care.

Equipped with a reading stool and a backpack brimming with books, our volunteers are right there ready to help and inspire. Our unique home-based service, whether in person or online, enables us to find the most appropriate books for every child we visit and build a relationship with the whole family.  We use books to fuel children’s natural love of stories, fire their imaginations, and encourage their appreciation of reading.

Our goal is to help children develop the self-confidence and essential skills they need to access all the opportunities that will come their way in life.  We also empower parents/carers to create and maintain a supportive environment by signposting them to local services and community support. Our projects not only improve literacy but also increase family wellbeing and bonding.  Our tailored service enables us to help prepare children for school and broaden their opportunities in later life.

Our impact is long-lasting. For us, the ‘happy ever after’ is when we know the power of literacy and the joy of reading are helping a child change their own story for good.  Every story shared is a story changed.

Our Key Messages

Reading with Doorstep Library opens doors and empowers lives

Words take you places. Here at Doorstep Library we believe that literacy is the foundation of every child’s future and we aim to fulfil every child’s right to read by giving families access to books and sharing stories in the home.

We want to help level the playing field for children living in disadvantaged areas. Our unique service goes directly into the home and supports both the child and the family to discover books and choose reading as a way of life. By helping to equip them with a love of books and the skill of reading, Doorstep Library empowers each child by giving them the tools they need to learn, enjoy and understand more about their world.

Our impact is long lasting. Once literacy is embedded in a person’s life, it can never leave. It is the fundamental building block to further learning, development and achievement. It inspires imaginations. It triggers ideas. It can be a stepping-stone to new directions and greater opportunities in later life.

Reading with Doorstep Library Promotes Positive Mental Health and Wellbeing

At Doorstep Library we believe in children having fun. Children who read for pleasure in the home and families that share reading together, are proven to have better mental health and general wellbeing. At Doorstep Library we aim to bring families together –helping to increase shared time together and encourage parents and carers to continue to spend time with children even after they are reading independently.

Our volunteers source books featuring characters from a diverse range of backgrounds and situations. We know that reading books with identifiable characters helps to create empathy and foster aspiration. Children become more aware of the richness and vastness of the world which opens their eyes to other cultures, backgrounds and life experiences. We also know that through books children can explore their emotions and vulnerability by observing a familiar feeling or situation from a distance.

We encourage parents to join our sessions and to continue to read with their children after we’re gone because we know that sharing stories together improves child-parent bonds, which in turn enriches family life, leads to better literacy and enhanced life opportunities.

Reading with Doorstep Library Brings People and Communities Together

Doorstep Library’s work may be rooted in reading for pleasure and literacy, but our influence goes well beyond the page.

The regularity of our reading sessions and the long-term, supportive nature of the relationships with volunteers mean that they are often focal points for the whole family. In addition the sessions contribute to enhanced family life by offering support for parents who might be experiencing difficulty.

In many cases our volunteers befriend the families and are warmly welcomed into their lives. They are there to lend a listening ear, to offer support and to have a friendly chat with parents and carers. In return our volunteers are able to watch the children develop and grow in confidence. They also have the opportunity to meet and spend time with a broad and diverse range of families, as well as other volunteers.

Having reached out and established a trusted link with the family, Doorstep Library is able to help families form bonds with the wider community through our signposting of local services. Books and reading form the basis of a contract of trust – it gives us a valuable platform to help fill in social gaps and forge community bonds that might otherwise be lost.