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Retired People

Teach a child, friend or neighbour to read: Yes We Can Read will guide you both through this life-changing adventure

If you have ever thought that you would like to use your free time, experience and wisdom in retirement to teach someone to read, but perhaps felt that you didn’t have appropriate teaching skills, or quite simply didn’t know where to start... then look no further.

John Paterson had taken early retirement at 55 after a career in advertising when he was asked by Ginny Williams-Ellis, the founder of Read Easy, to take on the role of Coordinator. Read Easy exists to provide dedicated one-to-one coaching for people who have problems with their reading. They have 23 established coaches and a further 16 ready to start, working with 20 clients/readers in the South West. The majority of coaches are now retired after successful careers in a variety of fields - from teaching to Astro-Physics.

"They are a wonderful group of volunteers who commit themselves to two or three half hour sessions a week, all strong characters but all incredibly patient and dedicated to helping people learn to read... Our ‘bible’ is Yes We Can Read  by Libby Coleman and Nick Ainley. Readers work their way through this marvellous book. Their progress has been remarkable." 

Yes We Can Read is a one-to-one programme designed to enable you, as a fluent reader, to teach a non-reader or poor reader from age 8 to 80 to read. No special training is needed: Yes We Can Read is a fully guided programme which begins right at the beginning by teaching the phonic sounds of the alphabet, and quickly builds to blend letter sounds, then words and sentences. For ‘sight words’ (those awkward words that don’t follow a phonic pattern) we use a ‘look write say’ method. Throughout the book, fun reading practise develops reading for meaning.

Soon your learner will be reading complex sentences and after 6 months or so, become a fluent reader him/herself. We recommend just 2 to 5 short sessions of about 20-30 minutes with your learner each week. As the coach, you need patience, enthusiasm and a gently supportive manner. All through the Yes We Can Read course helpful tips and suggestions support you to overcome those elements your learner finds difficult.

Yes We Can Read has gained a significant fan-base. Our oldest learner is Patrick (74) and our youngest coach is an 11 year old boy who is teaching his father to read!

"I can't tell you how proud I am to have read my first book at my age! I wish I had known years ago how easy it would be to learn to read."

Dennis (66) is a retired builder, who had been suffering from depression for several years. His wife Anne (65) is a retired primary school teacher. She is a governor in her old school and uses Yes We Can Read to teach the older children who have struggled to learn to read so far. Anne persuaded Dennis to coach an eleven year traveller boy, Callum, in their local secondary school. Callum learnt to read after two terms.

“I can’t put into words how much satisfaction I have gained from teaching Callum to read withYes We Can Read. He made rapid progress from the start, and we laughed together at the jokes and the riddles. He struggled a bit when we got to the soft ‘c’ – like you get with cigar - but we soon got over that. I am so proud of him, and we have both gained so much confidence. I can’t wait to teach someone else to read.”

Magda (72) is a retired dancer who still works as an artist. She has mild dyslexia and did not learn to read herself until she was 10. Worried that she would not be able to follow the instructions, and self-conscious about her own reading skills, she reluctantly agreed to use Yes We Can Read to teach her 10 year old granddaughter. She found the instructions very easy to follow and her granddaughter is storming through the book.

“I am so thrilled at the progress my granddaughter has made, but am very proud of myself too. I wish they’d had Yes We Can Read when I was young.”