Published on 24/04/2023

The DHL UK Foundation are excited to launch our new partnership with literacy charity Bookmark. The children who Bookmark support struggle with their reading in school and beyond. Reading isn’t just about books. It’s about reading a road sign, a safety manual, a birthday card or a delivery note. It is about understanding a job application or an important letter.

Why Bookmark exists

Over 7 million adults in England struggle to read and face challenges like these every day. Bookmark want to stop this trend and want every child to read. More than 1 in 4 children in England are unable to read well when they leave primary school. These children will continue to struggle for the rest of school and beyond which has a devastating impact on their life chances. People with poor literacy are more likely to be unemployed or in lower skilled jobs.

Bookmark’s reading programme

Bookmark are working hard to become the chosen literacy partner for primary schools. They provide targeted reading support to children that need it the most through their core programme, along with vital reading resources and much needed training funding to schools. All this enables them to develop a whole school reading culture.

Bookmark uses technology to increase their social impact, with a digital platform that matches schools and volunteers and an online reading programme that allows volunteers to support children to read across the country, particularly in social mobility cold spots. Through reading stories and playing games, volunteers help a child between 5-10 years old strengthen their literacy skills and develop their confidence. This opens up a world of opportunities for their future.

Meet Florin

Florin, 8, speaks Romanian with his family at home. His reading fluency was found to be three years below the expected standard for his age. Florin’s school put him forward as his reading ability was ‘below his age expectation’ and his teachers ‘knew he had the potential to make progress if he had the right intervention’. Florin’s teacher says this programme has had a ‘really positive’ impact on him which can be seen as he is ‘more confident raising his hand’ in class.

How can DHL colleagues get involved?

Over the next three years, Bookmark aim to support over 800 primary schools with their one-to-one reading programme. This is where you can help!  In the next few months, we will invite DHL colleagues to sign up to become a Bookmark reading helper. By committing to weekly sessions with a child you can support them to build the reading skills and confidence they need to succeed in school and have the chance to secure meaningful employment.  More details will be shared this summer and colleagues will be trained and ready to go in the new academic year.

Graihagh Crawshaw, CEO of Bookmark:

We are so grateful to the DHL UK Foundation for their generous commitment, which will help us to scale our work in areas of high need over the next three years and deepen our impact for every child that needs our support. School budget strains have meant that demand for our reading programme has skyrocketed, and we cannot wait to engage and train up members of DHL staff as volunteers, complementing the fantastic work the Foundation is already doing with GoTeach. Thank you, DHL UK Foundation!

Sonia Chhatwal, Director of DHL UK Foundation:

Bookmark are doing incredible work to tackle poor literacy  in our country. It’s shocking that 1 in 4 children leave primary school below their expected reading age, with the devastating knock-on effect this has on their future prospects. The DHL UK Foundation are delighted to provide much needed funding to support Bookmark’s mission and to encourage our brilliant DHL colleagues to sign up to become invaluable reading helpers.