The world of education, veering from one initiative and government policy to another – as it does (and probably will go on doing if the last few decades are anything to go by); can to some extent be set aside if we concentrate on two absolutes: literacy and numeracy. Ministers will come and go and experts will continue to opine. But for those fostering children and the pressures they face in supporting their charges through their education, perhaps avidly encouraging children to read can be amongst the best things a foster carer can do, Why? Literacy matters; of course, so too does numeracy, but we will cover that in an upcoming blog. For now, let us consider literacy, and how being a good confident reader from an early age can propel anyone to the heights of success in life. And by success, we mean a lifelong sense of fulfilment and accomplishment. How does this come about? When a child becomes a confident reader, they will naturally move toward books that have a wider vocabulary. And over time this will give them a greater ability to express their thoughts and ideas, and this can help them with so many aspects of life – down to building sustaining relationships.
Anyone, whatever their age, will be a more effective communicator if they have more words to draw upon when expressing themselves. Think of words as colours – the more one has at one’s disposal, the more colourful, interesting and compelling can an argument, or point of view be made. It is a fact, that strong communication skills – verbal and written – probably play the most crucial part in achieving success in life. It may be that a person specialises in a particular discipline, but whatever that may be, being able to communicate effectively about it; in whatever context that is called for, is essential.
With fostering children it is essential, especially young children, that a foster carer actively participates around reading. This by itself has great value in bonding with a child.
The following are points to consider in choosing children’s books so the interest of a foster child can be engaged:
Make a trip to a bookshop or library an event: something special that you can both discuss beforehand. Making it into an outing is a good idea – most bookshops are engaging colourful places hoping to attract the interest of youngsters. Often they have a designated reading area for children. And throwing in an additional treat like a spot of lunch can really help!
Try not to buy books online – there is nothing like a visit to a real bookshop. There will be probably be other children there, so your foster child will see this as a normal activity.
A good children’s book will be captivating from the very first page. The story will fire the imagination of a child. This is done through the written style and of course, the storyline itself.
A very important element will be the presentation of the book itself: sumptuous illustrations play a huge part in bringing a story to life. Good illustrations can become a talking point in themselves and aside from the reading, can trigger a foster child’s interest in art. They can also really help a foster care engage with a child.
The mark of a good story is that it will have a good vocabulary and have pace – so that a foster child will want to turn the page and be inquisitive to see how the story develops.
We will be returning to various aspects of literacy and its development in future blogs: it is such a vital core skill playing a huge part in making a success of life.
Considering you might foster children? Then explore ‘Rainbow Rewards’
Rainbow pay a fostering bonus of £500 meaning that if you can refer someone to be a foster carer: you’ll receive the money once your referral has been approved – and the first placement has been accepted. Foster carers transferring to the Rainbow can also benefit from a bonus once approved to foster with us, this will be a payment made for foster carers who already look after youngsters on a long-term basis.
And the good news at the end of this particular rainbow…2017 will be starting with a range of exciting music activities we plan to put on to build our children’s confidence through helping them develop their musical and performing skills.
More Fostering News – to keep you informed and up to date
Remember to check our own fostering children news site providing stories of interest to everyone involved in fostering children: visit: http://bit.ly/2e8PrIK