Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The reading project lifeline for children in care


Results published today by the reading charity Booktrust and the University of Leicester have revealed the phenomenal effect of a reading project on the literacy and mathematical abilities of children in care.
The Letterbox Club delivers parcels of reading materials, maths resources and stationery every month for 6 months to children aged between 7 and 11 (Years 3 to 5). The parcels are sent from May to October to cover the summer holiday period where the dip in attainment for many children is most evident.

Results published today (Monday 26 January) reveal the profound impact of the project on number and reading skills of the 1,000 children participating. Test results for 449 children were submitted.

There are over 60,000 children currently in care. 60 % of these children leave care without a single educational qualification. Children in care are more likely to spend time in prison than go to university. 33% of young people who are homeless have been brought up in care.

The University of Leicester, who jointly run the programme, tested levels of literacy and maths scores from the children who have participated in the project in 2008/9.

The successes are particularly impressive as the Letterbox Club is not provided free of charge. It is a purchasable service that costs each participating local authority £115.00 per child.

The programme is self sustainable and no longer receives funding from the government. Letterbox Club received an endorsement from the Chief Adviser on School Standards Sue Hackman, who called it an ‘invaluable aid.’

Today’s results reveal significant gains in the literacy and maths scores of children involved.

**The full report is available – please contact Katherine Solomon on katherine@booktrust.org.uk

Summary of Results:

1. Each child was tested in May before the first parcels were sent out and after the last package was received
2. At the beginning of Letterbox, overall the children demonstrated lower reading scores than would be expected for children of their age nationally
3. 6% of the children at the beginning of the study had not yet started to read. Nationally this would only be 2% of children
4. Following participation in the Letterbox Club the Year 3 children made a mean gain score of 4.4 and the Year 5 children made a mean gain score of 3.5. Nationally this gain is zero (meaning average progress).
5. For the maths tests, 28% of the 2008 cohort had scores that increased by at least one National Curriculum level
6. Results from 2008 show children moving out of the lowest attaining group and children moving into the higher attaining group.

1 comment:

NZBookgirl said...

This is a really amazing programme. The children who get to take part seem to thrive as a result.