From struggling to confident reader: Anisa's story

Consistent, 1:1 online reading sessions with a Chapter One volunteer have transformed Anisa's reading attainment, confidence and motivation

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Anisa started Year 2 at Horton Grange Primary School in Bradford in September 2022 and, in the words of her mum, Niela, was really struggling with her reading. Her first two years at school had been severely disrupted by Covid-19 which had impacted on her phonics learning and in turn her reading ability. Niela felt that she needed additional support and was delighted that she was able to participate in Chapter One’s online reading volunteers programme.

Below: Anisa doing her Chapter One @Home session. Photo: Chapter One

Anisa has really enjoyed taking part in the programme, through which she received sessions at both school and home. Her dedicated online reading volunteer, Zoe Parkes (a senior vice president at our corporate partner Marsh), was able to give her time for additional sessions outside of school hours and Anisa’s family were able to facilitate these by using their own device at home. The pair built up a fantastic rapport, with Anisa making great progress across the year - her reading ability increased by three levels thanks to the consistent, regular sessions and all the hard work and effort she put in herself.

Niela says that having the support of someone outside of the home was a big motivator for Anisa and that she has responded very well to Zoe’s help, encouragement and coaching. The consistency of their sessions allowed for a truly positive relationship to develop through which Zoe was able to fully tailor her support and hone in on the areas where Anisa was struggling, for example, slowing her down when she rushed over words that she found particularly challenging.

In terms of Anisa’s reading ability, there has been significant progress with both her fluency and comprehension, and a notable improvement in her spelling and writing. Reflecting on their year of reading, Zoe recounts how at the start, Anisa was reluctant to read the stories, preferring to play the word games. As the months went by and her reading skills, enjoyment and confidence developed, the stories became the focus of their sessions and the first thing that they looked at together.

Anisa is now so much more confident and outgoing, eager and excited to share her reading skills with other family members, including her younger cousin whom she loves reading to. Niela proudly notes how far Anisa has come along, citing a weekend trip out to a theme park where she confidently read the words and information that she saw around her.

Horton Grange is one of a group of schools which have also used the Chapter One online reading volunteers programme to support their Year 3 pupils, such has been the impact of Covid and school closures on children’s learning. Anisa will continue with the programme through Year 3 both at school and with Chapter One @Home reading sessions. All are looking forward to another successful and rewarding year of reading!

It all starts with literacy.