Paired Reading

This volunteering scheme brings together business volunteers and schools, who work to improve standards in literacy by visiting schools to listen to and support children to read one on one.

How it works

Volunteers visit together in small groups at the same time each week for approximately 45 minutes and spend time one to one or in small groups reading with children who have been selected for the programme by the school. You would be working with children who perhaps lack confidence, or who don’t get much support at home, or just need a friend to work with regularly. You would not be working with children with behavioural problems.


  • The overall objective is to raise pupils’ attainment in literacy

  • Enhance children’s confidence and motivation to learn

  • Encourage children to develop a love of reading

  • Give a positive insight into the world of work.


  • Children gain confidence and skills when it comes to their class work

  • Work with an adult who isn’t a teacher boosts their attitude to learning

  • Volunteers report great personal satisfaction from their involvement in the scheme, as well as improved communication skills

  • School staff value the extra support and benefits brought to the children.

Training and Disclosure

Volunteers first take part in a 1-2 hour training session where we cover how to support the children with reading and complete the disclosure forms. You do not need to decide to join the programme until after the training session, so come along and see if you like it.

Who can take part

Anyone can join the scheme but it may not be suitable for all roles, the programme requires a weekly commitment at the same time each week for at least one school term. It is best suited to people who have a fairly regular diary.

Paired Reading for SMEs

Business in the Community Scotland has secured funding from the Ernest Cook Trust, The Robertson Trust and The Barrack Charitable Trust to offer free support to any SME wishing to develop a Paired Reading employee volunteer literacy partnership with a local school.

BITC Scotland can train and place volunteers from the SME sector across Scotland.

If you own, manage, or work for an SME and would like to find out more please e-mail Alison Jones, Programme Manager - Paired Reading or call 0131 451 1100.

Download our Paired Reading Programme for SMEs PDF.

Thanks to the following funders who are supporting this extension to the Paired Reading programme - the Barrack Charitable Trust, the Ernest Cook Trust and the Robertson Trust.

Barrack Trust logo, Ernest Cook logo and Robertson logo