Reading Mentors

In-school setting

One to one support

Guided reading

Why have reading mentors for boys with absent fathers?

  • Boys fall considerably behind girls in reading abilities throughout their school life

  • Boys are a 1/3 less likely to go to University than girls

  • Boys have been falling behind girls in G.C.S.E’s for three decades

  • Boys who see their father read for 30 mins a day read more than boys who never see their father read

  • Boys from homes where a father is absent are at a greater risk of underachieving in school

Lads Need Dads want to address this imbalance and have set up a reading mentor scheme using male volunteers from the local community who are trained by Lads Need Dads as reading mentors for boys with absent fathers to help improve boys reading and emotional literacy skills.

Benefits of the reading mentor programme.

Mentoring and role modelling:

The inclusion of male mentors in the programme can have a powerful impact on boys. Having positive male role models who are enthusiastic about reading can help challenge stereotypes and encourage boys to embrace reading as an enjoyable and valuable activity.

Targeted approach:

The programme specifically focuses on addressing the needs of boys, lacking a father figure in their lives / positive male role model, recognising that they may require different strategies and support to engage with reading effectively. By tailoring the programme to boys’ interests, learning styles, and challenges, it demonstrates a thoughtful and targeted approach to promoting literacy.

Emotional literacy:

Teaching emotional literacy to boys can have several positive impacts:

  • It helps them develop a better understanding of their own emotions and those of others.
  • Improved communication skills, empathy, and conflict resolution abilities.

This can result in healthier relationships, reduced aggression, and better overall mental and emotional wellbeing.

Holistic development

The programme goes beyond simply improving interest in reading and literacy skills by incorporating elements that support holistic development. By fostering confidence, self-esteem, communication skills, and a love for learning, it contributes to the overall well-being and growth of the participating boys.

Support for mums and carers

Each mum and carer receives remote weekly updates about their child taking part on the Reading Mentor Programme via a Lads Need Dads Family Support worker. The session notes are shared, and time and space given to discuss progress or any concerns. The family worker can signpost to other services if needed.

Do you want to get involved? Email us at or call 07834 402017 to find out when we’re running a programme in your area.

To hear more about the reading mentor programme watch this video in which our founder, Sonia Shaljean was interviewed by the chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Men and Boys who are exploring why boys underachieve at school and what to do about it.

“The volunteers don’t quite realise the impact they have on these boys. They really have been strong role models. I know it’s not just about the reading BUT to have a male read to them shows them that it’s not a ‘geeky’ thing to do. Thank you.”

– Deputy Head Teacher

“Since reading with x weekly, I have noticed the profound impact it has had on his behaviour during sessions, and from the feedback I receive from teachers. x has disclosed his new ability to manage his anger and not react on impulse to situations. x is now able to talk about how he feels to diffuse situations at school and at home.”

– Reading Mentor

“Since becoming a reading mentor, I have gained invaluable experience, being able to work 1-1 with a young person and see them grow and mature throughout the 12 weeks. The reading mentor programme acts as a two-way reward system with both the young person and the mentor benefitting in different ways. Overall, it has been brilliant to work to improve young boys reading skills, self-esteem and help them manage their emotions.”

– Reading Mentor