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Read Easy and World Book Day

Local charity Read Easy Basingstoke is using World Book Day 2021 to encourage adults who struggle to read to come forward and ask for help.

They are asking people who know of friends and family members who cannot read, to pass on the Read Easy Basingstoke phone number, and encourage them to make a call that could transform their lives.

World Book Day, which takes place this year on Thursday 4th March, aims to inspire children to read for pleasure and read together with their families. But parents and grandparents who cannot read are not able to provide this support for their children and their learning, with many missing out on the important bonding time that comes with sharing a bedtime story.

There are 7,000 thousand adults in Basingstoke who either cannot read at all or can barely read. For them, everyday tasks such as booking a doctor’s appointment, reading road signs or doing the food shopping can be incredibly challenging. Life during lockdown has also been particularly hard for those with low literacy skills. Parents who cannot read have found it impossible to home-school their children, whilst many others have been unable to keep on top of the Government’s ever-changing health guidance.

Read Easy Basingstoke offers free and confidential one-to-one coaching, from trained volunteers. In normal circumstances reading pairs meet twice a week at approved local venues to work for just half an hour at a time through a structured, phonics-based reading programme, which takes up to two or more years to complete. At the moment however, due to Covid restrictions, pairs are meeting instead using WhatsApp and Facetime from the comfort of their own homes.

Read Easy Basingstoke’s Team Leader, Jane Ford, says those who struggle to read should not feel embarrassed about coming forward and asking for help: “There are lots of different reasons why people don’t learn to read in childhood. For some it may have been a lack of support from their own family or school, for others it may have been undiagnosed dyslexia. But people should not feel ashamed or embarrassed about it. We are friendly, welcoming, and here to help, whatever your age.”

Lyn, who is in her 70s, is one of Read Easy’s success stories. She joined the programme 18 months ago and has now obtained the skills and confidence to undertake the everyday tasks that most people take for granted, from reading cards from friends and family, to writing shopping lists, reading menus, road signs and TV listings.

She says “Reading has made my life so much better. It’s really made lockdown easier for me. Like they say, you are never too old to learn.”

For more information, please contact us on: 07952 450 789

or email basingstoke@readeasy.org.uk

Lindy O'Callaghan