The Extra Time Reading Scheme is a response to the need there is amongst many children who are underachieving in reading. Being able to read is a basic building block for life which all children need in order to fulfil their potential. The aim is to help mobilise Christians to spend time mentoring those who are struggling with this skill on a one to one basis.

The charity Faith & Football, set up by former Pompey players Mick Mellows and Linvoy Primus, have designed and written a reading scheme on four levels all based on Bible stories which are delivered to year 2 pupils (6 and 7 years old). The aim is to equip children to become confident and literate so that they may be enabled to realise their full potential as they progress through their education.

A programme designed to help children improve their reading skills through weekly sessions reading Bible stories with a mentor, it has made a huge difference because it introduces the children to the powerful words of the Bible.

The scheme works like this. The school identify the children who would benefit from this extra help and obtain the permission of the parents. We train volunteers who then go to the school for 1 hour a week between October and July. Each child spends 30 minutes with a mentor each week and then there is a 30 minute group session where they explore Jesus, Prayer and life lessons from the Bible.

After 25 Wednesdays at St John the Baptist Primary School, the 2013-2014 Extra-Time Reading Scheme came to an end with a celebration of all that had been achieved by the children with the help of the reading mentors from LHFC. Parents and other family members gathered to celebrate the children’s achievements and the children were presented with their own Bible. Other awards were presented, including the ‘Good Samaritan’, ‘Cheeky Monkey’, ‘Thumbs Up’ and ‘Little Angel’ awards, and the impact of the scheme acknowledged by the school, not only in improved reading ability but also in confidence.

All the children have improved their reading levels by at least 18 months during the year, one of them has gone up 35 months! Amazing. Children, Parents and staff all recognise the impact of the scheme: ‘My daughter has become more thoughtful about situations and I think she has applied what she has learn.’ ‘The children have been very enthusiastic about attending sessions and keen to share their awards afterwards.’ ‘I learnt that Jesus loves me.’

Thanks to the mentors; Ruth Pankhurst, Sue Knight, Lorna Allery, Graham Thorpe, Dorothy Bentliff, Diane Salter and Peter Jeffs, who each gave valuable time throughout the year. Everyone is looking forward to the start of the new school year and an opportunity to help more children get inspired by God’s word.

Next year we may have 12 children to mentor so if you would like to get involved – giving 1 hour a week on a MONDAY between 1pm and 2.30pm during term-time – please speak to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or any of the mentors named above. You will need to attend 3 training sessions in September 2014 and have an Enhanced CRB check (which we will carry out for you). More information about the scheme can be found on the Faith & Football website

This programme changes lives; you can be part of it!

© 2018 Locks Heath Free Church