It's the hard work of volunteers like Marla and Sue that makes Sheffield such a caring place.
Marla Addison, age 59:
Marla is a reading volunteer at Lowfield Primary School and Anns Grove school. She reads with pupils in year one who are five and six years old.
Marla retired last November and wanted to do something where she could use her experience of teaching English to international students.
Marla said: “'It is important to help children to read to increase their enjoyment, improve their confidence and to help them develop life skills. I volunteer to help make a difference to children and to share my enjoyment that I have for reading.
“You really see a change in the children. When I first started going into the classroom, some children were reluctant readers not wanting to read with me. Now everyone wants to get involved. One little boy even chose to keep reading into his lunch break.
“Some of the girls I read with really enjoy their stories now. They put lots of drama into their reading and talk about each of the characters on the page.
Sue Williams, age 61:
Sue is a reading a volunteer at Lowfield primary school. Sue started volunteering when she retired from Sheffield City Council more than three years ago. Sue reads with children in year one, who are six and seven years old.
Sue said: “They are so enthusiastic, I love working with the children. You get to build a special relationship with each of them. I worked with one little girl with a stutter. Using some techniques suggested by her teacher, we were able to work together to improve her speech.
“It really is rewarding. After you have been working with them for a short time the children start to see reading as a relaxing thing. It’s not something that they are scared of anymore and they start to enjoy it.”
Julie Facer, teacher at Lowfield school said: “Volunteers like Sue and Marla are invaluable to the school. We have 16 reading volunteers and through their one-to-one work with our children they have really raised the profile of reading throughout the whole school.”
Marla and Sue are ESCAL volunteers who read with children in Sheffield schools. There are over 300 active ESCAL volunteers across Sheffield. All volunteers are given thorough training and support so they can confidently read with children, undertake literacy games and word building.