Volunteer Week at VAS and VAR a Zoo and an Art Gallery

Reading Matters work very closely with Voluntary Action Sheffield (VAS) and Voluntary Action Rotherham (VAR), and they both have recently emailled me about about a couple of exciting projects they have organised to celebrate National Volunteers Week (1 - 7 June 2009).

Voluntery Action Sheffield - Diversity in Volunteering, a Photo Exhibition in June at the Circle, 33 Rockingham Lane, Sheffield, S1 4FW

This photographic exhibition celebrates the diversity of people who volunteer in Sheffield, many of whom have overcome real obstacles to do so. The photographs have been taken by students of photography and capture the essence of volunteering, and its impact on volunteers and the people they reach.

The exhibition is open 1 - 26 June 2009, Monday - Friday, 9.00am - 5.00pm.

During National Volunteers Week, the Volunteer Centre team will be available to talk about volunteering and involving diverse volunteers. Please feel free to drop by at the following times:

  • Monday 1 - Wednesday 3 June, 2 - 4pm
  • Thursday 4 June, 4 - 6 pm
  • Friday 5 June, 10 - 12am

Voluntery Action Rotherham- Free Trip to Chester Zoo for Volunteers and Community Organisations

  • Do you give your spare time to help others?
  • Are you a volunteer or a paid worker for a Community organisation?

If you have answered yes to any of the above, then join VAR Volunteer Centre and CEDR / RCAT on a free trip to Chester Zoo, where you will also get information about Skills for Life and Train to Gain opportunities.

As they put it "stop monkeying around and join us on the 3 June 2009"!

They will be meeting at VAR at 9am prompt, and returning back for 5pm.

This trip is only for adults and limited to 44 places. Places must be booked in advance by the 27 May 2009 through the VAR on 01709 834464.

For more information then contact:
Sam Walker at CEDR, 28 Percy Street, Rotherham. 01709 722834 or e-mail

[monkey picture - Leo Avalon]



I have just been reading about Booktalk on the excellent, Write Away blog. It is not something I had heard about before, but is included in the DWSF National Strategies training and is worth exploring.

Booktalk encourages us to encourage children to talk about the books they have read. The intention is to improve their understanding and appreciation of what they have read, and develop their own writing as a result. Exploring this topic means dealing with a fair amount of jargon but there are some simple ideas underpinning the scheme; simply asking questions about what a young person has read, for example:
  • Tell me what you thought/felt about...
  • Which parts of the book stay in your mind most vividly?
  • Have you read any other books like this?
Using such methods will help a child think about what they have read, engage with it, develop ideas and hopefully appreciation and enthusiasm. I recommend the Attachments and Resources on the National Strategies page on Booktalk, the page itself is a little impenetrable.