Reading made easy

Round & About

Could you help change lives by volunteering with the local charity which helped Jay Blades MBE

Read Easy offers free and confidential, one-to-one coaching, from trained volunteers. The charity encourages adults to come forward and make the phone call that could transform their lives.

Coaches and learners meet twice a week at approved local venues, or online, to work for just half an hour at a time through a structured, phonics-based reading programme.

There are many adults who struggle to read. For them, everyday tasks such as booking a doctor’s appointment, reading road signs or doing the food shopping can be incredibly challenging.

Parents and grandparents, who cannot read, are not able to provide this support for their children and their learning, with many missing out on the important bonding time that comes with sharing a bedtime story.

The BBC1 documentary Jay Blades: Learning to Read at 51 followed Jay, The Repair Shop presenter and Chancellor at Bucks New University, as he learnt to read with Read Easy. Like many other parents who struggle to read, Jay had never been able to read his children bedtime stories. The highlight of the documentary was when Jay reached his goal of being able to read his teenage daughter one of her favourite childhood books.

Those who struggle to read should not feel embarrassed about coming forward and asking for help. The charity team say: “There are lots of different reasons why people don’t learn to read in childhood. For some it may have been a lack of support from their own family or school, for others it may have been undiagnosed dyslexia. But people should not feel ashamed or embarrassed about it. We’re friendly, welcoming and here to help, whatever your age.”

Here is a comment from one of Read Easy’s recent success stories: “I started the Read Easy programme in 2020 when the country went into lockdown. I found it frustrating not being able to help my children with home schooling. Now, I can read with my family, enjoy reading novels and have a new-found confidence in myself and in the future. More than anything I want to show my kids that you can do anything if you put your mind to it. I want to see the smiles on their faces when I read to them. It’s such a massive achievement and nothing makes me happier.”

The Read Easy Chilterns team cover Wycombe, Aylesbury, Amersham, Chesham, Beaconsfield, Gerrards Cross, The Chalfonts, Wendover and surrounding areas. To find out more about the team please visit For more information about seeking help learning to read you’re welcome to call Andy Gaze on 07810 184 371.

For help with reading and to volunteer in the West Berkshire area please contact the West Berkshire group at

To get involved in the Reading area, please get in touch with the Read Easy Regional Advisor Michelle Baker at [email protected] and in the Oxford area at