What We Do

We recruit and train volunteers to go into some of the most disadvantaged areas in London to help introduce children from ages 0 to 11 to the pleasure of reading and inspire them with it.

Whether in person, online or in the post, Doorstep Library supports children living on London’s most disadvantaged estates. Our teams of Home Reading Volunteers, make weekly visits to children at home or online, to read stories, lend books and connect families to their local community. We give children from isolated families a better future through improved literacy skills and the confidence to thrive both at home and at school.

Volunteers work in pairs, carrying a backpack full of books, and small stools to sit on. We visit each family once a week during term-time, read stories with the children on the doorstep or in the home, and lend them books to exchange when we return the following week. We also run online reading sessions when reaching those who need it most is simply not possible in person. We emphasise the fun element and use the power of stories to let the children generate their own interest, which is the most effective motivation for learning.

We also engage with parents to show how important (and easy) it is for them to spend time reading with their children and take an active part in their education. In addition, we develop strong links with family support agencies in order to ‘signpost’ to families what is on offer in their community in terms of events and facilities, helping them gain access to everything from libraries to reading clubs, youth centres, grants, days out, courses, talks and workshops.

At present, we visit almost 600 children from 300 families each week, with more than 130 Home Reading Volunteers lending out over 20,000 books in 2018 alone. This is still just a tiny percentage of the families that could benefit from our projects, and our aim is to keep growing in a way that helps the greatest number of children.