Theatre Royal Haymarket Actors Volunteer to Support Children’s Literacy Charity by Performing Popular Kids Stories

Schoolreaders, a national children’s literacy charity, is delighted to announce a new partnership with the Theatre Royal Haymarket Masterclass Trust, whose member actors have volunteered to read popular children’s stories for Schoolreaders StoryTime. The literacy charity created StoryTime, a video library of volunteers reading popular children’s stories after the first school closures in 2020, to encourage reading and reading enjoyment amongst primary school children. These video stories are sent to Schoolreaders’ 1,650 partner primary schools across the country every week and are shared by schools with their pupils at home and used as an in-school resource.

Prior to the first school closures in March 2020 Schoolreaders volunteers were providing a one-to-one reading support session to over 12,800 children each week in over 650 primary schools across the country. While schools are closed, the charity has adapted its provision in order to continue supporting children’s reading both in school and at home with digital volunteering and the StoryTime video book library.

Masterclass is the in-house charity of the West End’s Theatre Royal Haymarket, providing young people interested in theatre with the opportunity to meet and learn from those at the heart of the British theatre industry, through onstage masterclasses, script development opportunities and mentoring. A number of Masterclass members (young performers who are making their name on stage, screen and radio) have volunteered to read popular children’s books for the Schoolreaders StoryTime scheme.

Jane Whitbread, Founder of Schoolreaders comments: “We are delighted to be partnering with Masterclass and we are so grateful to all the actors for volunteering to offer their talents to our Storytime video library. It is so important that children can access and engage with books during the latest school closures and the videos from these talented actors will help more children to see the enjoyment that can be gained from books.”

Clare Annamalai, Programme Director of Masterclass added, “Young theatre makers really know how to bring a story to life, and we are so pleased that through this brilliant partnership with Schoolreaders, Masterclass members can use their skills to help children read and enjoy books during lockdown.”

Jane Whitbread continues: “Good literacy at primary school is the cornerstone of success in secondary education and in later life. But as many as one in four children in the UK leave primary school unable to read well, and this figure will only be made worse by the COVID-19 crisis. Our reading support will be needed more than ever before as so many children have fallen behind with their reading since the school closures.”

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