Better Finglas aims to increase literacy supports for primary school children through the delivery of Wizard of Words, an evidence based literacy programme.  Evidence has found that the programme; improves children’s reading; encourages and promotes children’s interest in and love of reading; and improves their perceived competence and enjoyment of reading by building their confidence in their own ability to read and comprehend the books and print material they encounter in their day-to-day life.  Better Finglas aims to work with all primary schools within the catchment area.

Barnardos Wizards of Words (WoW) Reading Programme

WoW is a school-based intergenerational paired reading programme, focused on improving children’s overall reading achievement.  Participants are children in 1st and 2nd class experiencing delays in reading but who do not need formal reading interventions and are not in receipt of additional resource teaching hours.  The programme pairs children nominated by their class teacher with an appropriately trained volunteer.  The programme provides sessions with the children three times each week.  The programme uses a three stage guided reading process which includes pre-reading, reading, and follow-up activities. The activities focus on four key areas; vocabulary building, reading comprehension, phonological awareness, and reading fluency.  The child benefits from having individual reading support as well as the development of a positive relationship with an adult – their volunteer.

Wizard of Words Project Leaders

Marion Mc Hugh and Mary Keogh have each over thirty years’ experience in Primary education. They have both worked as teachers and Principals in DEIS schools in Dublin. Marion has delivered extensive training to school staffs in areas of Social, Personal and Health Education; Child Protection and the Stay Safe Programme. Mary has training and experience in Supervisory Practice for Caring Professions.

Volunteer’s Experiences

Volunteers report that they themselves benefit as they experience the satisfaction of making a difference to a child and improving their educational opportunities and outcomes in life.

Rita Nolan, Volunteer Reading Tutor, Barnardos Wizards of Words Reading Programme since 2009.
Her love of reading and years of reading to her two sons and four grandchildren has helped her as a Reading Tutor role. Rita says “I feel at the end of the academic year that I’ve actually done some good and that makes you feel good. You feel good for helping the children so that’s why I would say go for it”.

Denis McCarthy, Volunteer Reading Tutor, Barnardos Wizards of Words Reading Programme since 2014. For Denis, volunteering makes for a happier retirement and has given him the chance to achieve a long-running wish to teach at primary level.  Denis says “It has structured my week, I certainly know what day of the week it is and helping others is it’s own benefit. So I’d say anyone who’s thinking of volunteering go for it, it’s a win win situation for all concerned. It makes for a much more happy retirement.”

Interested in Volunteering?

For more information on volunteering with the Barnardos Wizards of Words Reading Programme
please contact: Suzanne Connolly, Barnardos Volunteer Service
Office: 01 7080431 | Mobile: 086 857 0112 | Email:

WoW Schools

WoW is currently running within 7 primary schools in Finglas and hopes to expand into 2 more in April 2016.

Click here for the Literacy membership diagram