Foster literacy in the early years

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Foster literacy in the early years

Foster Care Fortnight has just finished for this year…but the work goes on. Not only do we face the challenge of finding over 9,000 new foster carers across the country, the day to day support given the carers we have remains vital. So we will maintain our effort to keep a focus on both writing about and supporting literacy. It is the essential life skill we all need – all the others depend upon it.

Think of the word literacy and most people will think only in terms of reading and writing. It is worth noting that ‘literacy’ encompasses a broader range of learning. Foster that idea – it’s worth it: literacy in the early years can include lots of activities a foster carer can employ to build a strong relationship. This means helping young children to read gives carer a great chance to communicate. In the early years, talking about books, mark making and sharing books are a great way to build trust, create bonds and socialise children.

“From the day our children are born (yes), to the day they tell us to stop, we should read to them,” says Michael Rosen – the celebrated children’s author.

It is vital that young children are helped to get ready for school. The best way of doing this is to work closely with them to promote early literacy skills. Reading from the basis for learning in all the different subjects. It is very marked that children who have been read to at home arrive at school much better prepared than those who have not. They have the all important early literacy skills and are receptive to learning to read and write. Those children whose experiences of listening to books being read aloud – indeed even handling books – are very limited can struggle.

Foster parents should make the time to encourage young children to learn new words. This can be done by engaging in discussion. When children enter school with a very limited vocabulary, it can be more difficult for them to learn new words. And as time passes, a limited vocabulary can increasingly interfere with a child’s ability to comprehend what they are reading.

Foster good reading habits.

This is going to seem too obvious to state, but it is true: The more that children read, the better readers they become. So foster parents should make the time to read as much as possible with young children. Even a few minutes a day if conducted regularly can make a real difference. The interest to learn to read is very important. If children return from school, and it seems they are not developing an interest in reading, this needs to be addressed. In the early stages of learning, motivation plays a central role and this depends critically upon confidence. When a child begins to acquire confidence, then enjoyment in reading can take root. This is the Holy Grail, for it is highly likely to lead to the expansion of vocabulary and reading skill.

There is no doubt that early reading experiences are vital in building vocabulary. Providing children with ‘literacy rich’ environments – books, wall posters, etc. are the best ways to support cognitive skills. It is a sobering thought; one that attests to the importance of these early years – a child’s brain starts forming connections quickly and ninety percent of its critical brain development will have occurred by the age of five.

Foster a good sense of rhythm.

It’s not exclusively about reading books. When parents sing to their children they are exposing them to rhythm and rhyme. These two things are known to play a hugely important role. Children’s vert early literacy skills are actually about listening and speaking as opposed to reading and writing. Familiar rhymes and poems develop auditory discrimination and listening skills in young children. These are the pre-requisites to learning to read. In the past it was common for parents from all cultures to sing to their children. The pressures of time and modern life can work against these activities – as can the intrusion of technology. Nonetheless, it is very important as is child’s play. Play is one of the most important things for children’s early learning in terms of numeracy as well as literacy. It enables children to verbal, social and interaction skills which in turn stimulate imaginative thinking along with problem solving abilities.

Just to prove that the educational experience starts early, babies start to learn ‘language skills’ in the womb. This is because they start to ‘learn’ sounds that are familiar and they can be seen to respond to certain sounds.

A ‘Rainbow Rewards’ bonus scheme if you are a foster carer.
Rainbow Fostering need foster carers! we are happy to pay a bonus of £500, if you are a carer and in a position to refer someone to become a foster carer. After the first placement has been made -following on from your referral – we will pay the bonus. Are you already an approved foster carer with a long term foster placement? Then we’ll make it easy for you to transfer: and if you do, you will also qualify for a bonus. Rainbow Fostering are always happy to provide information on a whole range of fostering topics – simply get in touch.

Rainbow always happy to answer your foster care queries.
Rainbow gives information encompassing a broad range of fostering topics. Our team is regularly asked for information about things such as – foster carer requirements and how to become a foster parent uk even foster carer requirements.

The latest foster news is out…
The Rainbow ‘Read All About It’ news section which can be found on our website highlights our intention of serving up all the issues that relate to fostering children. So if you are thinking of catching up with more news about uk fostering and related subjects simply visit

Foster reading skills

Foster literacy skills

And the good news at the end of this fostering Rainbow…summer has arrived!

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