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 as reading mentors for boys with absent fathers to help improve boys reading and literacy skills.

Reading skills are fundamental to everything we do.

Fathers serve as important reading models, especially for boys.

When the only people boys see reading are their mothers and their (usually) female school teachers, boys often begin to see reading as an essentially feminine activity, something “males” don’t do. If boys have no father figure modelling reading at home this leaves them at a real disadvantage.

Reading Mentors are matched to boys with absent fathers or limited access to a male role model, in year 6 Primary Schools for a 3 month period. Each session lasts 45 mins to one hour. Boys engage in a check in and review of their week, and using emotion cards, identify their emotions and discuss this. The check-in is followed by the mentor reading to the boy. The session is not about assessing a boys reading ability it is about the boy being given dedicated time and attention to be read to.

Are you a school representative? Find out how to get involved

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