TutorMate UK

From Innovations for Learning

Resource type: Reading support

Price band: Free

Key stage: KS1

Region(s): England - Greater London, England - Yorkshire and the Humber, England - East, England - South East, Scotland

TutorMateUK is an online platform that pairs corporate volunteers from all over the UK with disadvantaged children in KS1 who need reading practice. TutorMate is currently available to primary schools that have a higher than national average number of Free School Meals and/or English as an Additional Language in Bradford, Doncaster, East Sussex, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, London, Middlesborough and Peterborough.

Volunteers link directly from their workplace to a dedicated classroom laptop using the TutorMate internet platform and a voice connection. Volunteers and their reading partners ‘meet’ for 30-minutes every week through the academic year to read stories and play literacy-related games that improve fluency and comprehension and build reading confidence.

All volunteers are subject to an Enhanced DBS check and undergo online training that covers

  • Safeguarding.
  • How children learn to read.
  • How to listen and communicate in a positive and encouraging way.
  • How to engage reluctant readers.

The Tutormate programme can be used to support up to 10 pupils per Year 1 or Year 2 class (P2/3 in Scotland). TutorMate provides a dedicated and secure laptop and headset for pupils to use that can be set up easily in a corner of the classroom. The platform provides a library of more than 300 stories, fully decodable at the lower levels, alongside word and literacy games to reinforce key skills in an engaging way.

Cost: Free in the first year, £250 per class per year thereafter.

About Innovations for Learning: Innovations for Learning is a US technology charity that has been developing innovative software to advance early literacy since 1996. Innovations for Learning UK was registered as a charity in 2018. Through TutorMate, Innovations for Learning provides the only global, volunteer-led, technology-enabled remote reading support programme, with volunteers from over 200 global corporations.

Literacy Hive Likes:

  • Teachers create an online timetable of suitable times for volunteers to choose from and the platform also includes a messaging function that allows teachers and volunteers to communicate and share relevant information.
  • The programme offers volunteers the flexibility of being able to volunteer from their desk, broadening the range of people who can offer schools their time.
  • Pupils can access the platform independently while the teacher works with the rest of the class and there is no need for access to outside space as pupils can work with their volunteer inside the classroom.
  • Teachers report an increase in engagement and an improvement in attitudes to learning across the curriculum among participating pupils.
  • An impact report carried out by the National Literacy Trust found that TutorMate children showed twice the rate of increase in their reading enjoyment compared to other children in their class, and 100% of teachers believed that TutorMate had been beneficial for participating pupils.

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