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Centre for Research into Reading, Literature and Society


In collaboration with our partner, The Reader, we host volunteers to assist with our projects.  Please see below for our current volunteer opportunities.

Volunteer Placements in Secondary Schools in Partnership with The Reader

The Reader are looking for enthusiastic, dedicated, and creative undergraduate students to volunteer with Get Into Reading in Secondary Schools across Liverpool, running weekly, one to one, shared reading sessions with pupils. Shared reading means that the book, short story, or poem is read aloud in the session with the facilitator / volunteer leading the reading. This isn't a literacy project (although improved literacy is often one of the outcomes) and you will not be expected to take on a teacherly role. Instead the emphasis is on reading for pleasure and the sessions are more informal and relaxed than lessons. The main aims of the project are:

  • To promote the enjoyment of literature, encouraging young people to see reading as a fun, beneficial, and life enhancing activity.
  • To build young people’s confidence and self-esteem through shared reading.
  • To improve health and well-being through books and reading.
  • To increase literacy by making reading into an enjoyable activity that is individualised for each person.

You will read with the same young person for one hour each week (about 12 sessions in total) so you will have the opportunity to build a positive professional relationship with the young person, helping you to find the right books and poems that will engage and inspire them. This is a fantastic project and a real opportunity to learn new skills whilst helping young people to develop a love of reading that they can keep for life.

Feedback from students who took part in this project last year

I have felt the experience was more than worthwhile. More things like this need to be organised! As a volunteer the change in the children was remarkable. Our last session today has been almost moving in the departing scenes! I would do it again and would recommend it to others.


I think the experience was of value for both me (representative of The Reader) and the child; the child benefited from the practice in reading but also the social aspect and learning in a new way. It taught me a lot about working with children especially with regard to keeping them interested and being able to go about the sessions in a way suited to them. I did reading sessions with two children: one boy who had a shorter attention span so needed variation to keep him focussed; the other was a girl who was happy to sit and read through a book week after week and preferred not to keep stopping.

I would definitely do it again, also I think it gets easier with practice and also with getting to know the people you’re working with so after the first few sessions you have the skills/confidence to know what you’re doing. I would definitely tell people to take part in the scheme; if anything I was surprised by the enthusiasm and appreciation shown by the children and it is a rewarding experience. The children valued the sessions more than I thought, especially if they see it as a more social activity where they can practise their reading in a more relaxed, informal and personal way. Also the staff in the schools were also very cooperative and grateful which helps to make the time spent feel worthwhile.

What was valuable in the experience was spending time with someone you would probably never have met, and building a strong friendship. I valued how open people are when you are reading a text together, and the feeling of sharing something together. I would advise anyone who has a passion for reading and would like to feel more involved with the Liverpool community to take up this opportunity. I would also suggest it to people who are interested to see what it is like working with people from different sections of society. The experience was both enjoyable and rewarding but also a heavy responsibility which prepares you for life after university.

I had an absolutely fantastic time on this project - thank you for the opportunity. If you could give me any advice about continuing to volunteer for The Reader, I would absolutely love to next year. Not necessarily in a school, but in a care home and with events like the penny readings etc - any kind of involvement would be great.

How to apply

To apply for a volunteer placement, please send us a personal statement (1 side A4 max) explaining:

  • why you want to do this module and this placement in particular
  • what you hope to gain from the experience
  • why you think you would be good at fulfilling a role of this kind

Please send your personal statement to Dr Josie Billington ( and Sam Shipman, Young Person Project Worker, The Reader (