Adam & Josh’s story

“When Doorstep Library first called, I dismissed them immediately. Nothing good has ever come from a knock on the door. I couldn’t have been more wrong!” recalls Carol, a single mum of three. At first she was enormously reluctant to allow Doorstep volunteers to read to her boys. “I don’t like reading and couldn’t really see the point, but Kathy and James kept coming week after week.  Of course Adam and Josh joked about, hardly sitting still for a moment, but still the volunteers came with their rucksacks and their smiles. I guess it sort of grew on us and before I realised it, we were actually looking forward to the visits, me included!”

Kathy, the Doorstep Library volunteer who worked with Adam and Josh, remembers the early sessions well. “At first, the books seemed truly foreign to the boys. They couldn’t concentrate, nothing held their attention; they almost immediately lost interest. It was rather disheartening and not terribly rewarding for the first few months. But every so often, we’d catch a glimmer of interest, a little spark of curiosity which kept us motivated. And Carol began to open up; she was obviously overwhelmed and life kept throwing her more challenges: damp, noisy neighbours, intrusive social workers, but I think she felt a sense of relief having another adult to talk to, and having a much needed break from the boys.”

For two years, Kathy and James consistently read to Adam and Josh, offering them books of interest: football for Adam and fantasy for Josh.

The breakthrough came when Josh asked for a specific book, Ferno the Fire Dragon, of the Beast Quest series. “We read the first few pages together, with Josh engaged the whole time. It’s a book with fairly long chapters so I thought it ambitious of him, but he seemed so interested. I left the book with him for the week. The next visit will be forever memorable – Josh answered the door with the biggest, most proud smile I’d ever seen, holding the book in his hand as a present. He had devoured it!”

When Doorstep Library began working with the family, Adam (4 years old) was behind at nursery and Josh (8 years old) was disruptive in class and threatened with suspension at school for talking back to a teacher. “I just figured they would go the same way as their older brother,” says their mother.

Since then, the boys have steadily progressed. Adam has caught up to his peers at school and is thriving in his class. Josh was recently recognised in school for his contribution to Book Week when he dressed as Harry Potter and read out loud to his classmates. “We owe a lot to Doorstep Library,” says Carol. “For giving the boys a leg up and bringing such enjoyment into our home.”

Book choosing