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June 5, 2015

Volunteering with Reading Partners: Pearson executives go 'back to school'

Kate James, right, chief corporate affairs officer at Pearson, volunteers with a student at Belle Haven Elementary School during the Reading Partners, as part of Project Literacy on Wednesday, June 3, 2015 in Menlo Park, Calif. Project Literacy is a campaign to make significant and sustainable progress in global literacy for the next 5 years. Currently 781 million people around the world are illiterate. (Tony Avelar/AP Images for Pearson)

Pearson Executive Board members went ‘back to school’ yesterday in Menlo Park, California. Carving out time from a busy meeting agenda to read to students in a volunteering initiative that was organised in collaboration with Project Literacy and Reading Partners. Some even claim they learnt a fair bit themselves…

Kate James, Chief Corporate Affairs Officer at Pearson, shares her own experience at the school and why learning about sauropods was so much fun:

This morning I had the opportunity to volunteer alongside the Pearson Board at Belle Haven Elementary in Menlo Park. Thanks to Michael Lombardo and his great team at Reading Partners we worked through a structured reading lesson with students to help accelerate their reading and comprehension skills. 80% of the students at Belle Haven have English as a second language and almost one in four are homeless.

The one to one support of the Reading Partners volunteering program provides teachers and students invaluable support helping to boost confidence and increase reading proficiency with some of the most deprived kids in California.

My hour with Daniel was not only worthwhile but a lot of fun – to be honest, I’m not sure who learnt more, him or me… Who knew it takes sauropods’ food 30 seconds to reach their stomachs? As Daniel pointed out, “what do you expect when you have a neck that’s twenty feet long?”

Pearson launched a volunteering policy earlier this year, that allows employees to take up to three days of paid leave per year to volunteer in social impact programs, partnering with organisations such as Reading Partners, Worldreader and many others.

John Fallon, CEO at Pearson, volunteers with a student at Belle Haven Elementary School, Menlo Park, CA. (Tony Avelar/AP Images for Pearson)
Pearson Executives read with students as part of a Reading Partners Volunteer program Menlo Park, CA. (Tony Avelar/AP Images for Pearson)

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