Skills for life

Funding level: £10,001 to £25,000


Reading for pleasure and soft skills are really important for life. They help people communicate, get jobs and enjoy their free time. According to a study by Islington Reads, 'those who read 30 minutes a week are 72% more likely to have a greater community spirit and 37% more likely to get pleasure from their social life'.

Facts matter! Studies show that English children have less positive attitudes towards reading than other countries - only 26% of Year7s 'like' reading. Reading for pleasure is a more powerful factor in life achievement than socio-economic background. Reading fiction is associated with higher levels of empathy and improved relationships.

Book Clubs in Schools (BCiS) creates a fun, non judgemental environment for book clubs to develop students' communications skills, critical thinking, fact-based opinions, creativity, empathy and a lifelong love of reading. This takes place in a face-to-face weekly club with their peers. The clubs build community and belonging in the schools.

BCiS is a peer-to-peer mentoring scheme and is often the first opportunity for older students to volunteer. In addition, the book club leaders gain leadership and facilitation skills which build their confidence for the workplace. They can use their experience of leading book clubs for their personal statements for UCAS, CVs and the Duke of Edinburgh Award. We currently operate book clubs in 20 schools, mostly in London. Our primary focus is on disadvantaged schools with high levels of students who qualify for free school meals.

Our achievements so far:
- 3,500 Year7s have participated as book clubbers
- 400 Year 9-12s took part as book club leaders
- 4,000 books have been read
- 50,000 biscuits have been eaten!!

Results from our BCiS surveys indicated that:
- 80% of book clubbers improved their reading age and kept the gain when tested one year on
-75% of book clubbers increased their love of reading
-78% of book clubbers indicated a positive response to working with older students
- 81% of book club leaders gained in self confidence
-74% of book club leaders acquired new skills

We want to expand in Merton and Wandsworth, two boroughs with pockets of deprivation from 4 to 10 disadvantaged schools because these are the boroughs where we live, started the project and have strong local community links. BCiS will provide:
- a detailed project plan for schools
- expert interactive training
- impact measurement analysis
- tailored materials including bespoke book club questions and activities
- a link with the Duke of Edinburgh Award
- multiple copies of the books for the book clubs
- certificates for all participants

The benefits for schools, book club leaders and book clubbers
For the schools:
- peer-to-peer mentoring
- makes the school a reading school
- builds social inclusion
- increases participation in class
-improves communication and analytical skills

For the book club leaders they gain:
- facilitation and leadership skills
- greater respect for younger pupils
- responsibility and volunteering experience
- organisational skills
- perseverance and resilience

For the book clubbers:
- improves soft skills
- increases their confidence
- sense of belonging to the school
- encourages reading for pleasure
- widens their horizons

The funding from Aviva would enable us to recruit and run book clubs in 6 new and 4 existing local schools by December 2018. The book club programme costs £2,000 per school including training, materials, books and a school trip to thank the book club leaders - our volunteers - and to widen their horizons. By funding this project, Aviva will create:
-1,800 more book clubbers
-200 more leaders
-2,000 more books read

"The more you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go. " Dr Seuss, I Can Read With My Eyes Shut! "

Book Clubs in Schools

Moment of Pride

The effect on people like the ones below makes us proud :

Kelly, Book Club Leader

Southfields Academy video that they created in love of Book Club

Testimonial from Caroline, Secondary School Co-ordinator

Location: Wandsworth, London, United Kingdom