Reading volunteers program

Volunteers are an incredible resource within schools who can work alongside teachers to support children in developing reading skills. Volunteers need to be trained in order to provide support that is appropriate to the different needs of learners and work with small groups and individuals.

As Soul Action we facilitate a training program for reading volunteers in how to support learners to develop reading skills. The program consists of termly workshops alongside support visits. We have learnt from experience and research that support visits as people are learning and developing new skills, alongside workshops results in positive and lasting change. New Teacher Center (2014) highlights that support for teacher’s results in teacher effectiveness and improves student success.

During workshops the following areas are covered:

  • phonological awareness
  • pronunciation of sounds in English and isiZulu [similarities and differences]
  • activities to reinforce knowledge of sounds
  • word attack skills / reading strategies
  • structure of a lesson
  • what is meant by, and how to facilitate shared reading
  • how to manage behaviour which respects the rights of the child

Screenshot 2016-07-19 14.38.34

The volunteers learn how to use resources which enable the facilitation of multi-sensory activities, catering for visual, auditory and kinaesthetic learners. Throughout each term a volunteer receives at least three support visits.



During 2016 we worked alongside eight volunteers working in four schools within a specific community.  Staff from the schools expressed how beneficial the training and mentoring had been, witnessing the impact of the program as the volunteers applied the skills they had developed to their work in the classroom with students.


New Teacher Center (2014) Ten reasons to have a high-quality teacher induction program [online], Available from [Accessed 15 November 2015]