They've got mail and just love it

23rd September 2005 at 01:00
The padded envelopes arrive once a month. They contain just a few items of stationery, a book and materials for a maths activity.

But the foster children who receive these packages find them almost as exciting as Christmas presents. Rose Griffiths, a Leicester university researcher monitoring the effect of the Letterbox Club, a support programme for foster families, said that the parcels appeared to have had the desired effects.

"They seem to have increased the frequency of foster carers reading to children, and of children asking to be read to," she told the Bera conference.

"There is also evidence of children reading to each other and talking about how to improve their reading."

The programme has been piloted in two unnamed local education authorities over the past two years, with 57 children aged seven to 11. The impact on their educational progress has yet to be properly evaluated but initial signs are positive. The reading ages of several children increased substantially in the first year, and most had a more positive attitude towards schoolwork.

However, the parcels were appreciated for more than their contents.

"Several children said it was the first time they had ever had a letter or a parcel," Ms Griffiths said.

"Many children had kept the envelopes. In the third parcel, children were each given two sheets of personalised name labels saying 'This book belongs to ...' with their name filled in.

"Three foster carers said their children bought second-hand books at the next car boot sale or jumble sale they went to so they could put their labels in them."

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number


The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now