Primary Reading Partners

Strong literacy skills are important for the future academic and professional success of a young person. Primary Reading Partners aims to instil in young people an enjoyment of reading and improve their comprehension, speaking and listening skills whilst providing role models from the world of work.

There are now over 1500 Reading Partners working with 68 Tower Hamlets Primary Schools.

How it works

Each primary school is paired with a company, who recruit a group of volunteers to visit the school each week for 30 minute lunch time sessions. Volunteers are partnered with a particular pupil to support them with their reading and comprehension, and are encouraged to have conversations around the books they read to develop rapport and build confidence. We ask volunteers to commit to one full term (approximately 10 weeks) but most volunteers choose to stay for the whole academic year.​

Students are selected by their teachers because they may lack confidence in their own abilities, be reluctant readers, require motivation, or would benefit from one to one support from an interested adult. 


Tower Hamlets EBP provides training sessions for new volunteers which includes information on the background and practicalities of the scheme, as well guidance on strategies to use during Reading sessions and an opportunity to ask any questions. This training is arranged through the company co-ordinator and takes place at the company offices. The sessions are 1 hour and 30 minutes long and also cover good practice and child safeguarding guidance.


When reading with younger pupils, you may find it useful to understand the basics of how children are taught to read when they begin school. We cover this in our training session, but you can also visit to hear the correct pronunciation of the sounds. Please get in touch if you have any questions. 

Disclosure & Barring Service check

To volunteer as a Reading Partner you will be asked to complete a Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) form, which we will provide for you.

You cannot volunteer on this scheme without a DBS check through THEBP. No other DBS disclosures issued by another organisation will be accepted. The DBS check is processed under confidential cover, any queries or results are not disclosed to your employer.

How to volunteer

We welcome only teams of volunteers (a minimum of 6 people) from companies.

Volunteers will need to commit to one full term (approximately 10 weeks), but find that most volunteers choose to stay for the whole academic year. Training is provided.

A Disclosure and Barring Service check is required. Tower Hamlets EBP will provide the company co-ordinator with the DBS forms. All volunteers must submit their form to us before beginning the scheme. There is no cost involved..

Register your interest for Primary Reading Partners

To find out more about this programme please contact Laura Malanaphy, Project Manager - Lloyd's Community Programme on [email protected] or 020 7655 0317.