About the programme:

 The Reading Rhondda programme was born out of local research done post pandemic, by consulting with various partners within the Rhondda community and looking at national statistics which noted the decline in reading and literacy skills in primary aged children.

‘The Rank foundation’ initially funded the programme for one year as part of their golden award funding along with some funding from ‘The waterloo foundation’, due to the success of the programme Pen Y Cymoedd again along with the ‘Waterloo foundation’ have ensured that the programme can continue to flourish. 

The Reading Rhondda programme aims to bridge this gap by holding sessions with caregivers and the children with the emphasis on encouraging reading and literacy at home and demonstrating ways in which reading, and literacy can be incorporated into various everyday activities at home such as crafts, cooking, and general daily tasks. As well as this we provide reading materials for the children involved to access on a regular basis, we source these through charitable partners and donations; this is a sustainable and ecofriendly way of sourcing reading material for our families and means that if children do enjoy a particular book, they are encouraged to keep them.     

What we do:

The sessions at the schools are focused weekly on a particular book which is read to the children either by the project worker, volunteers, a caregiver or one of the children at the session. The book is discussed with the children, what they liked about it etc and time is given for the children to interact as the story is being read. Having a wide variety of people read to the children gives the children the opportunity to have different experiences but it also demonstrates to caregivers different reading styles and ideas as to what they could be doing at home, having older children as role models reading is beneficial for the younger children to aspire to become the same.

There is then a task associated with the story, and instructions for the children to read and follow; sometimes this is a cooking activity, crafts, or  literacy games such as word bingo, crosswords, and word searches. There are always lots of ideas and tips shared amongst the families at the sessions as to how they support their children with reading and literacy, these can be ideas such as getting the child to write the weekly shopping list, playing eye spy with shop signs, or reading place names when driving along in the car. All these things help to strengthen a child’s exposure to literacy and reading in everyday situations, many things that until discussed aren’t thought of.

One of the findings from Reading Rhondda was the number of Welsh speaking families that the project lead was encountering who felt they had little or no support with regards to reading and literacy within the community or through extra activity clubs. SPF funding allowed us to employ a project worker to work within the Welsh medium schools, pre-schools, and community sessions to offer this support. All our sessions are now either through the medium of Welsh or bilingual. 

Our community sessions run similar to the school sessions however there is a greater scope for age range and ability, these sessions are
accessible to anyone within the community; and are in the evening time so are suitable for working families. Our community partners provide a small snack and drink for the families, a warm and inviting environment, and often are a great source of information as to what else is going on within the community for our families to access.

Our Pre-school sessions concentrate on immersing the children with language through singing, stories, and messy play. These sessions are well attended and have become a place where friendships are formed between families with children of similar age. Age appropriate books are available for the families to borrow and our community partners have been instrumental in supporting the sessions and offering discounted admission to the play centre after the sessions.

Another aspect of Reading Rhondda is the ‘Free little library’ boxes, we were successful in receiving a grant from interlink in order to produce 10 boxes which are to be placed in the settings we work with and filled with books, allowing more of the community to have access to books on a regular basis. We have worked with ‘Men’s shed Pontypridd, Bridgend and Tynewydd’ in order to produce these boxes. A donation from Asda Tonypandy enabled us to buy resources so that we could team up with Treorchy Comprehensive school’s art department who have been decorating the boxes in a chosen theme decided by the individual schools. We have completed 3 of these boxes and they are being well utilised.

Where we work:

  • Community centres.
  • Community partnership venues.
  •  English and Welsh medium Primary Schools.


“Elizabeth loves hearing stories read and it’s good for her to see other children reading. The first time she attended she was amazed to see other children doing it as she was only just starting to read books at school. At home she now attempts to read stories she is familiar with although she doesn’t read the text, she uses pictures to prompt her memory.”

Darran Park Primary School
“Isabella is more enthusiastic to sit and listen to stories and now suggests activities herself linked to stories she has heard. She also wants to join in with character voices and reading to her baby sister.” Mother at Treorchy primary school.
Treorchy Primary School

“Firstly, I would like to say how much I have enjoyed my time with the project, and witnessing firsthand how the children taking part are flourishing.  To keep children entertained, involved and enthused is challenging for schools and parents at the best of times, but this project does that and more. They are benefiting from both the reading (listening and taking part) and the diverse crafting activities.”

Sarah - Volunteer

Introducing Welsh into the sessions has been a brilliant welcome for families who speak Welsh or little ones who will be attending Welsh settings. 
Picking up a new word or phrase in the settings help along with the help of the books that we can take home.
Claire has been welcoming in every session and my daughter always loves going and singing her Welsh songs along with all the actions.

Claire - Mother
The Play Yard - Preschool sessions


For more information about our sessions or working with us please contact Natasha at: 


Phone: 07463108082

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