Reading Coaches to support adult literacy learners

Reading Coaches to support adult literacy learners

Ongoing role
At a glance


  • Mentoring / Coaching
  • Teaching / Education


London, WC2B 4BA
Mainly at the office
Travel limit? Volunteers should be based in or near to London, and able to travel to the learner's college campus


Mostly during office hours Estimate of time needed:
0-5 hours / month or 1-3 hours / week
ALT match you to a learner based on your respective availability. Typically, most ALT sessions take place sometime between 10am-6pm, Monday to Friday.

Visitors from Fifth Day

Welcome to Reach Volunteering. We are a community and registered charity that connects people, skills and good causes.

To apply for this role, and any other on our platform, you need to be based in the UK, have at least three years of experience using the skills you wish to volunteer in a professional capacity or have lived experience (for trustee roles). Read more about our criteria.

Help an adult learner become a confident reader by mentoring them one-to-one to support their literacy learning. 

What will you be doing?

The Adult Literacy Trust (ALT) wants to help adult learners break the cycle of poor literacy by offering them personalised reading support.

We offer one-to-one literacy support as a complement to formal teaching in education settings. We are dedicated to ensuring that adults who wish to improve their literacy skills – and to increase their life chances – receive the help they need to become confident readers. 

Would you like to support an adult learner to become a confident reader? We are looking for volunteers to become trained Reading Coaches and work with adult learners on a one-to-one (or sometimes one-to-two) basis.

What it looks like in practice:

• Meeting a learner weekly, on-site at their college campus, typically before or after their formal classes for about an hour a week 

• Building a constructive relationship with a learner[JD1] 

• Helping to check the learner’s understanding, build their confidence in reading, and provide support where needed

• Helping the learner practice skills they’re learning in the classroom and encourage confidence and resilience so that they persist with their studies

Where and when: 

ALT is partnered with a range of colleges across London as we assign you to a location that works for you. We have opportunities in: Southwark, Stratford, Hackney, Tower Hamlets, Holborn, Camden, and Westminster. 

The timings are flexible – ALT match you to a learner based on your respective availability. Typically, most ALT sessions take place sometime between 10am-6pm, Monday to Friday.

What are we looking for?

Person Specification 

To be eligible to serve as a Volunteer Reading Coach, volunteers must have at least 3 years of experience as a mentor, coach or teacher in any subject, though English or ESOL are preferable. 

Volunteers will also need to satisfy a number of other eligibility criteria, including but not limited to: 

  • Be able to meet with a learner at an approved site, on a set day and time (minimum of 1 hour per week), for a minimum of 1 academic term 
  • Agree to receive an up-to-date DBS check (ALT will cover related fees) 
  • Successfully complete volunteer induction and training, including safeguarding, and any further training as required 
  • Adhere to all charity relevant policies and procedures 
  • Have the right to volunteer in the UK 


Essential Skills 

  • A proven track record of coaching, mentoring or teaching
  • A good communicator, with strong reading and listening skills 
  • Patient, friendly and approachable 
  • Reliable and punctual 
  • Non-judgemental, empathetic approach 
  • Ability to explain things in a simple manner 


Desirable Skills 

  • Passionate about literacy and its importance 
  • Enjoys helping others and able to demonstrate empathy 
  • Ability to encourage and motivate others to overcome barriers 
  • Ability to work as part of a team 
  • Awareness and understanding of equal opportunities and safeguarding 

What difference will you make?

“Before I never used to open a book because I thought I couldn’t read but now I can. I used to think it was boring reading before but now I don't.” – from a learner working with an ALT Reading Coach

Your support will help an adult learner build the skills and confidence to improve in their reading. You will provide vital, tailored support helping to motivate and empower the learner. The education partners we work with tell us the impact of ALT volunteers includes increased learner confidence, motivation and persistence, as well as improved reading skills, and increased pleasure in reading. 

Before you apply

Please apply through Reach in the first instance. Shortlisted candidates will be asked to complete our additional application form before being invited to an online interview.

Volunteers are required to go through our bespoke training programme, which will run from late August until mid-September, with trained volunteers being matched with adult learners from mid-September onwards.

Contact us through Reach for more information about locations, session times and the recruitment and training schedule, or for a link to our online application form. 

  • Education
  • Organisation type: 

    The Adult Literacy Trust provides adults with one-to-one support to improve their reading skills and confidence, as a complement to formal education provision, ensuring that individuals who wish...