Beanstalk is launching a campaign to encourage more men to sign up as reading volunteers in schools.
The reading charity said only 16% of its volunteers, who give one-to-one support to children in England who lack essential language and reading skills, are men, and that the number of men who sign up has not changed in a decade.
Ginny Lunn, c.e.o. at Beanstalk, said: “It’s so important that children see men reading books, being caring and compassionate and showing emotion just as much as women. Children need to see this balance, particularly in early education, and even more so for boys and girls who may be missing a male role model at home.
“Through this campaign we want to break down the barriers that may be preventing some men from considering becoming reading helpers, while highlighting the incredibly positive impact all our volunteers have on the children they support.”
Regionally, the highest percentage of Beanstalk’s male volunteers compared to female is in the South East (20%) followed closely by Yorkshire with 19%. The lowest percentage is in the South West (10%).
As part of the #BeanstalkMensMonth campaign, which coincides with International Men’s Day on 19th November, Beanstalk will be sharing stories across its social media channels from current male reading helpers, male teachers working in education and male authors to inspire more men to volunteer with the charity.
Mathew Tobin, a senior lecturer in English and children’s literature at Senior Lecturer in English and Children's Literature at Oxford Brookes University, supported the campaign, saying: “There is a notable difference in the number of male teachers we have in primary education compared to female and the majority of parent helpers who come into school are the same. So for many children in the primary years, men may be largely invisible.We need more variety into education roles, not just in relation to gender, but also in terms of cultural and racial diversity, to provide children with a true reflection of the realities around them.”