Get on the Same Page

Posted 12 March 2024

Footprints Foster Care - Get on the Same Page

With the return of World Book Day last week, we’ve been spending some time thinking how much we love reading and how important it can be for foster families. So, even if you’re still having nightmares about that costume, read on to discover just how books can help you and any children in your care to get on the same page.

As the much-anticipated next season of Bridgerton finally nears our screens, it’s a timely reminder that reading is a privilege to be valued. The Regency-era show reveals only 200 years ago, books and knowledge were for the upper classes only – and even then not for all. Eagle-eared viewers may remember Lady Featherington’s rebuke, “Penelope, put down that book at once. You shall confuse your thoughts”. Yes, reading was once considered slightly subversive. Lady Whistledown notwithstanding.

Fast forward to the present day and we are so grateful that times have changed. The written word is widely available and offers so much to all. Yet even today, some still need a helping hand to access all the benefits of books. Like foster children.

When UK children’s reading charity Booktrust commissioned a report into reading in foster families, the results were themselves a great read. First, they highlighted what lots of us know already – that children in care generally do less well in education than their counterparts. They noted though that this can be counteracted by encouraging those same amazing children to get reading. With foster care being the perfect vehicle! They found the benefits continued too. If you’ll allow us to sound a little geeky, one of our favourite statistics was that 90% of foster carers who read with their child reported it made a positive difference to their relationship. Wow.

Spending time reading to or with a foster child really can be a great opportunity to bond. That 1:1 time lets you enjoy something together without interruption, gives you something to talk about and also provides the perfect opportunity to show that child they are worth being with. Even on difficult days. In fact, especially on difficult days.

So, do the benefits end there? Definitely not. Books also offer children the chance to learn empathy, discover social and emotional concepts and explore life’s big issues. Sometimes things a child may find too hard to deal with firsthand can be voiced and faced through the safety of a character. Read together and your child can develop confidence as well as creativity and concentration. Cracking.

But, how? For babies and younger children, it’s simple – start with reading a bedtime story every night and go from there. For slightly older children, try to keep that routine of reading to them or with them at least once a day and ask fun questions about the current book. If you are fostering a teen, why not try reading the same book independently so you can discuss chapters over a coffee or hot chocolate? For reluctant readers, get sneaky! Menus, recipes, Minecraft and Google can all be your friend and a gateway to actual books.

Reading really does offer so much for foster families and now you’ve read this, we hope it will help you and any children in your care get on the same page. If you want to delve deeper or talk anything fostering, please do get in touch. We love a good catch-up as much as we love a good book.

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Footprints Foster Care Ltd
Registered Company No 07879639

Longham Business Park
168 Ringwood Road
Dorset BH22 9BU

T: 01202 573408
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