Time to Read

Be part of Time to Read, our ground-breaking literacy programme. Scientists have found that children who can read well by the age of seven are more intelligent in later years. Time to Read bridges the gap in literacy skills for children up to the age of ten. Can you give one hour a week?

Award-winning Time to Read sits in the top 5% of interventions of its type globally. Volunteers dedicate one hour per week to read with two Key Stage 2 children (8-10 years old). Operating across 85 schools, why not join this army of over 500 volunteers and make a difference? Time to Read has been developed by Business in the Community, supported by the Department of Education, to help improve literacy in local primary schools.

Currently over 60 of Northern Ireland’s leading companies support their staff to volunteer an hour per week through Time to Read in 85 schools across Northern Ireland.

Time to Read has won the Belfast Telegraph Business and NICVA/Camelot Link awards for Outstanding Community Involvement.

Company benefits  include:

  • Develops staff confidence
  • Increases self-esteem and communication skills
  • Motivates staff and enhances teamwork
  • Raises profile in the local community
  • Builds partnerships with local schools

Schools benefits include:

  • Provides an insight into the business world
  • Motivates and develops children academically and socially
  • Introduces children to a positive role model from the world of work
  • Enables children to work on a one-to-one basis improving communication skills, confidence and self-esteem

It has been an honour and privilege to part of Time to Read and I would recommend and encourage anyone to participate. It has been a very rewarding experience for me and has given me an opportunity to do something totally outside the realms of my workplace.

Terry Weir, Funeral Services Northern Ireland

The Programme

Established in 1999, Time to Read is offered within school time in a group environment where local business people read on a one-to-one basis with children, supporting their reading progress and giving them an insight into the world of work. Business in the Community provides full training and Access NI clearance. Find out more

The Research

In 2010 Business in the Community commissioned an independent evaluation of Time to Read through the Centre for Effective Education at Queen’s University Belfast. The evaluation focused specifically on assessing the impact of Time to Read on children and identified that the programme made an improvement in reading outcomes in decoding, oral fluency and reading rate as well as aspirations for the future.

You can read the Time to Read Executive Summary or the full Time to Read Research Report.

The Commitment

Organisations involved agree to release staff for one hour a week to volunteer in a local school. Initial commitment is for one year with the option of extending and many of our volunteers are now in their fifth and sixth year.

Find out which organisations are involved in Time to Read.

For more information contact Ciara Mulgrew, Programme Executive on (028) 9046 0606.

Read the Time to Read Blog

Register your interest



Place: Time to Read Key Impacts 2015

22 July 2015

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Place: Time to Read Companies

30 September 2015

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Place: Time to Read Schools

30 September 2015

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