Read Easy UK is a national charity which provides free, confidential one-to-one reading coaching for adults from trained volunteers, through locally-run, affiliated volunteer groups.

Our readers and coaches meet twice a week and work for just half an hour at a time through a structured, phonics-based reading programme. Normally, they meet at approved local venues, but since the pandemic, many have moved to working remotely. The confidential one-to-one nature of our service is vital to encouraging people to come forward to ask for our help. Many adults are deeply embarrassed and ashamed by the fact that they are unable to read and, with bad memories of school, would fear a return to a classroom setting, where old feelings of failure could be reawakened. By working instead with one dedicated volunteer coach, a supportive and trusting bond develops between the pair, which helps motivate the reader to complete the course.

Read Easy UK, which is based in Gloucestershire, is registered as a CIO with the Charity Commission. We are the umbrella body which supports volunteers to set up Read Easy groups in their communities.

Our vision is for all adults in the UK to have the literacy skills necessary to fulfil their potential and live life to the full.

The need for Read Easy

Whilst for many of us reading is a skill we take for granted, there are 2.4 million adults in England alone who can barely read or cannot read at all*.

In practical terms this means that they would struggle to read road signs, household bills, menus in restaurants or letters from school.

*Skills for Life Survey, 2011, Dept. BIS.

Adults who struggle to read are:

  • five times more likely to be unemployed and four times more likely to experience long-term unemployment
  • unable to support their own children’s learning
  • unable to understand basic health information, which is associated with high mortality
  • less likely to vote or take part in public and community life

This is a problem which is getting worse. England is the only country in the developed world where literacy levels are worse in the younger generation than in those approaching retirement. In 2013, the literacy of England’s 16-24 year olds was ranked 22nd out of 24 developed countries by The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

"I have been going to Read Easy for two years. I have more confidence and I don’t feel ashamed anymore. It’s just like they say, it’s never too late to learn. I would not have done it without Read Easy."

Steve – Reader, Read Easy Bridport