Become a Reading Volunteer

Do you want to help a child to read?

We are Doorstep Library, a community-focused charity dedicated to bringing the magic of books and the joy of reading directly into the homes of children across London who need our support.

Our work is concentrated in areas where we know opportunities for reading are restricted – there may be limited access to books in the home or language barriers may be preventing parents or guardians from being able to provide additional reading support to the children in their care.

Equipped with a reading stool and a supply of books, our volunteers are right there on the doorstep, in person or online, ready to help. We use books to fuel children’s natural love of stories, fire their imaginations, and encourage their appreciation of reading. Our ultimate goal is to help them develop the self-confidence and essential skills they need to access all the opportunities that will come their way in life.  Our projects not only improve literacy and confidence in children, but they increase family wellbeing and bonding through the joy of sharing stories.  Our impact is long-lasting.

For us, the ‘happy ever after’ is when we know the power of literacy and the joy of reading are helping a child change their own story for good.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to live in London/UK to be able to volunteer?

This depends on your volunteering role. As a Home Reading Volunteer you’ll read with children in person in one of our locations in Camden, Hammersmith & Fulham, Lambeth or Westminster. You’ll be able to choose which location works best for you. Online Reading Volunteers can log onto their reading sessions via Zoom from anywhere in the UK. However, all volunteers must be based in the UK, so that we can carry out an enhanced DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) check for working with children.

How much time do I have to commit?

As a regular volunteer you will visit the same families on the same day and at the same time every week. If you are a Home Reading Volunteer you can volunteer on either a Monday, Tuesday or Thursday during school term time and will start at 4.30 pm and finish at 7.00 pm. If you are an Online Reading Volunteer you can volunteer on either a Monday, Tuesday or Thursday during school term time and will start at 4.30 pm and finish at 6.30 pm. Ideally, you should be able to commit for at least nine months.

If you can’t volunteer regularly, you can become a stand-in volunteer. Our stand-ins step in when a regular reader can’t come to a session. This is a lot more flexible and it’s a great opportunity to meet and work with different volunteers and families.

How do the reading sessions work?

The main aim of our reading sessions is to inspire a love of books, of stories and storytelling, and to instil a lifelong love of reading. This helps prepare children for school and broadens their opportunities in later life.

As a Home Reading Volunteer, you’ll visit the same five families each week and spend 20 minutes reading and engaging with each family. You’ll also bring the children a few extra books to leave behind, making sure that they always have enough to read at home in between the sessions. As an Online Reading Volunteer, you’ll read with the same three families each week, again spending 20 minutes reading and engaging with each family via Zoom.

Our reading sessions are all about bringing the gift of books and the joy of reading into the home. We don’t have set attainment goals, the sessions should be fun for both children and volunteers and friendly chats, reading with silly voices or playing a little game is very much encouraged!

How do I become a Doorstep Library Reading Volunteer?

Our volunteering journey begins with attending one of our one-hour virtual Information Sessions which take place twice a month. At the Information Session we will introduce you to Doorstep Library and tell you more about our reading sessions, volunteering roles and the training process. After you apply, we’ll get to know you better in an interview via Zoom. We’ll also help you complete an enhanced DBS check and you’ll be asked to provide names of two referees. The last step is completing your training and after that you’ll be ready to be matched with a volunteering partner and start reading! Register for one of our virtual Information Sessions now.

Will I receive training?

Absolutely, we provide separate training programmes for Home and Online Reading volunteers which include pre-recorded training videos that you can watch at home in your own time and at your own pace, followed by a live interactive training session via Zoom. The training covers topics like basic rules and principles, safeguarding, and plenty of advice on how to make reading sessions engaging and build a relationship with the children and families.
Throughout your volunteering, you’ll be getting lots of support from your Team Leader as well as other volunteers. We’ll be always happy to hear your feedback, answer any questions and respond to any concerns.

 

 

Volunteer Benefits

Volunteers gain as much from their weekly reading sessions as they give, often citing the day as the highlight of their week! Volunteering not only offers vital support to those who need it most, but its impacts also extend to the volunteers themselves. Being a volunteer allows you to connect with the local community, build new relationships and learn new skills. As well as greatly improving your mental health and wellbeing.

Volunteering with Doorstep Library provides an opportunity to:

  • Build your confidence and improve your self-esteem
  • Share your love of reading and books with the children you see
  • Make new social connections with your fellow volunteers and families you visit
  • Make a real difference to the lives of others
  • Give back to the community you live in or the community you visit every week

Our volunteering opportunities are also highly useful for those considering professions in primary education, social and community work.

Here’s what our volunteers have to say:

“Over the past year, I have seen the interest and ability of these kids in reading grow and grow – I watched the once shy boy come running up to me 6 months later raving about the latest book he has read and asking for more.” Dylan
“I love volunteering with Doorstep because I can share my love of reading with families. I get really excited about choosing books for the children I visit. One has just discovered the heroes of Greek mythology, another is interested in the Saturn mission, one loves to read plays aloud with her siblings. It is wonderful to encourage their curiosity.” Aude
“I can see that I have built up relationships in the community, obviously with the support of more experienced people. There is a huge sense of achievement with the work! The most rewarding part is being involved in the whole process, it has become part of my life and I take it very seriously. I get the values that the charity is trying to get across, the mutual understanding is very important. It is wonderful seeing the project grow and being part of that.” Amy

Gallery

Register your interest

We look forward to hearing from you.

Contact Us

If you have any further enquiries please contact our team.
We look forward to hearing from you.

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Chalk Farm

Our Chalk Farm project sits within the borough of Camden where we’ve started supporting families. We currently offer on-the-ground reading projects to local families with children aged 0 – 11, and we are also offering Online Reading Sessions to families across Camden.

Nearest Station: Chalk Farm (Northern)

Days and times of operation
Tuesday – 4:30 pm – 7:00 pm

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Somers Town

Our Somers Town project sits within the borough of Camden where we’ve just started supporting families. We currently only offer on-the-ground reading projects to local families with children aged 0 – 11, but we are offering Online Reading Sessions to families across Camden.

Nearest Station: Kings Cross (Circle, Piccadilly, Hammersmith & City, Northern, Metropolitan and Victoria)

Days and times of operation
Monday – 4:30 pm – 7:00 pm

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Edgware Road

Our Edgware Road project sits within the borough of Westminster where we have been supporting families for four years now. We currently operate five projects in the borough, sharing books and reading with children aged 0-11.

Nearest Station: Edgware Road tube station (Circle, District and Hammersmith & City lines)

Days and times of operation
Monday – 4:30 pm – 7:00 pm

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Marylebone

Our Marylebone project sits within the borough of Westminster where we have been supporting families for four years now. We currently operate five projects in the borough, sharing books and reading with children aged 0-11.

Nearest Station: Marylebone (Bakerloo line)

Days and times of operation
Thursday – 4:30 pm – 7:00 pm

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Queen’s Park

Our Queen’s Park project sits within the borough of Westminster where we have been supporting families for four years now. We currently operate five projects in the borough, sharing books and reading with children aged 0-11.

Nearest Station: Queen’s Park (Bakerloo line)

Days and times of operation
Monday – 4:30 pm – 7:00 pm

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Pimlico

Our Pimlico projects sit within the borough of Westminster where we have been supporting families for four years now. We currently operate five projects in the borough, sharing books and reading with children aged 0-11.

Nearest Station: Pimlico (Victoria line)

Days and times of operation
Tuesday – 4:30 pm – 7:00 pm
Thursday – 4:30 pm – 7:00 pm

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Brixton

Our Brixton project sits within the borough of Lambeth where we have been supporting families for two years now. We currently operate four projects in the borough, sharing books and reading with children aged 0-3. These projects have an early years focus and are run in partnership with LEAP (Lambeth Early Years Partnership).

Nearest Station: Brixton (Victoria line)

Days and times of operation
Tuesday – 4:30pm – 7:00pm
Thursday – 4.30pm – 7:00pm

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Tulse Hill

Our Tulse Hill projects sit within the borough of Lambeth where we have been supporting families for two years now. We currently operate four projects in the borough, sharing books and reading with children aged 0-3. These projects have an early years focus and are run in partnership with LEAP (Lambeth Early Years Partnership).

Nearest Station: Tulse Hill overground (Southern and Thameslink rail)

Days and times of operation
Monday – 4:30pm – 7:00pm
Tuesday – 4:30pm – 7:00pm

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East Acton

Our East Acton project sits within the borough of Hammersmith and Fulham where we have been supporting families for over ten years now. We currently operate five projects in the borough, sharing books and reading with children aged 0-11.

Nearest Station: East Acton (Central line)

Days and times of operation
Monday – 3:45 pm – 6:30 pm

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Parsons Green

Our Parsons Green project sits within the borough of Hammersmith and Fulham where we have been supporting families for over ten years now. We currently operate five projects in the borough, sharing books and reading with children aged 0-11.

Nearest Station: Parsons Green (District line)

Days and times of operation
Tuesday – 3:45 pm – 6:30 pm

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Shepherd’s Bush

Our Shepherd’s Bush project sits within the borough of Hammersmith and Fulham where we have been supporting families for over ten years now. We currently operate five projects in the borough, sharing books and reading with children aged 0-11.

Nearest Station: Shepherd’s Bush (Central line)

Days and times of operation
Thursday – 4:30 pm – 7:00 pm

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Hammersmith

Our Hammersmith project sits within the borough of Hammersmith and Fulham where we have been supporting families for over ten years now. We currently operate five projects in the borough, sharing books and reading with children aged 0-11.

Nearest Station: Hammersmith (District and Piccadilly line)

Days and times of operation
Thursday – 3:45 pm – 6:30 pm

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Fulham Broadway

Our Fulham Broadway project sits within the borough of Hammersmith and Fulham where we have been supporting families for over ten years now. We currently operate five projects in the borough, sharing books and reading with children aged 0-11.

Nearest Station: Fulham Broadway (District line)

Days and times of operation
Tuesday – 4:30 pm – 7:00 pm