At Rainbow we have been placing a particular emphasis on the importance of literacy. And a big thanks to all the children’s authors who have responded to our twitter campaigns and shown their support by following us. Children going into care often have many disadvantages compared to their peers. Frequently they have little or no input when it comes to developing an early interest in reading. These days great attention, rightly, is placed on the STEM subjects, but before you can develop a talent or interest in any area, you have to be able to read. Being able to pick up a book and be transported to a world of your own imagining is a wonderful option. And it is a lifelong gift to be passed on. We know how very important it is to encourage a ‘culture of reading’ and support all those involved in fostering with us to promote literacy.
For very young children, the book at bedtime provides a unique way to bond with a parent. As adults, many of our fondest memories will be for those far off childhood days curled up with mum or dad enjoying a story together. When we think of the kind of stability so necessary for healthy development, such an activity is the wellspring of confidence and security.
For older, confident readers, a book can feel incredibly personal – something to be retained and carried about: it is a friend! And It is always accessible and not prone to ‘technological failures’ such as flat batteries. Reading a book is a distinct sensual experience, the weight and feel of the paper combined with the more subliminal effects of different fonts all add to the pleasure. For very young children the plethora of illustrative styles is enough to stimulate the imagination sufficient to last a lifetime. Who of us in our adulthood cannot bring to mind the images of Winnie the Pooh and all the visually memorable characters ‘living’ with him in the Hundred Acre Wood.
Fostering a sense of value for the printed word.
The printed (and illustrated) word has been with us for generations. It is encouraging to learn that book sales have recently hit a record and one of the key drivers for this has been the popularity of children’s fiction. The latest figures show this sector of the market helped to push book sales to a record £3.5bn last year. The sales of children’s books rose 16% to a total of £365m: the increase was mostly due to the sale of printed publications. Looking at exports of children’s books, an increase of 34% to £116m was recorded. Worth mentioning was the 150th anniversary of Alice in Wonderland, which played a part in boosting the sales of physical books. Interestingly, the popularity of ebooks continued to slide as sales fell by 3% to £538m last year.
The chief executive of the Publishers Association, Stephen Lotinga said:
“Digital continues to be an incredibly important part of the industry, but it would appear there remains a special place in the consumer’s heart for aesthetic pleasure that printed books can bring,”
And Dawn Finch, the fantasy author, said “This is a golden age of children’s literature,” (continuing) “I’ve never seen such a steady flow of extraordinary fiction for younger readers, and children are far more prepared to read longer and more challenging material.”
Fostering Children means a focus on promoting social relationships within the family.
Much has been written on the negative aspects of prolonged exposure to and use of social media. Children have been placed at great risk of grooming and sexual exploitation. And this risk is still present, notwithstanding the much improved levels of scrutiny and monitoring of internet safety watchdogs such as CEOP https://ceop.police.uk/
This means that a book can offer refuge from the risks presented by the online world. And this is increasingly appreciated by parents:
“There is a reaction among parents to the all pervasiveness of digital and social media,” (continuing) “We want to give our kids something paper-based because we spend so much time looking at screens.” stated Philip Jones, editor of trade magazine the Bookseller.
Encouragingly: although nearly three quarters of households have a tablet computer, few children actually use the computers for reading. Figures reveal that only 23% of children use tablets to read books.
We live in an age of rapid technological change which has led to a situation where we are bombarded with information. Adverts are ‘served’ to us when we are online and we are distracted by businesses seeking any opportunity to engage with us. The statistics relating to book sales are perhaps telling us something interesting about ourselves: we are reaching a limit to the amount of information that we wish to engage with and we are now ‘voting with our feet’ and, happily, it seems in the direction of the nearest bookshop. So if you are fostering children, a great trip for a child(children) these days is to a bookshop. Many have reading corners and work hard to make children especially welcome.
Read our children’s book reviews on Facebook
As well as taking time to read our special news section where there are many interesting articles on fostering available, if you are fostering children or teenagers, we also regularly offer children’s book recommendations on our Facebook page. Please visit our news page today http://bit.ly/2e8PrIK
Our fostering ‘Rewards’ bonus scheme explained.
At Rainbow we are always keen to attract carers with current fostering experience so we pay a bonus of £500 if you refer someone to start fostering with us. Once their first placement has been made following your referral, we will pay you the bonus. If already fostering with a long term placement, you can easily transfer to us and you will receive a bonus. We also provide advice on a whole range of fostering issues such as how long does it take to become a foster carer? And we are always happy to give general information: this could be on a range of topics, i.e. how much do private fostering agencies pay? As well as the allowance that you will be entitled to receive including the fostering allowance for disabled child.
And the good news at the end of this fostering Rainbow…even more birthday congratulations are in order for our staff and carers.