Children in care reading and maths project expands

Posted by er134 at Oct 22, 2014 10:40 AM |
Alan Johnson MP is new Patron of postal club for children in foster care

Issued by University of Leicester Press Office on 22 October 2014

Contact pressoffice@le.ac.uk to request images

A project that started in Leicester with just 20 children now reaches over 7,500 children nationwide and has extended to 5-7 year olds.

The Letterbox Club was the brainchild of University of Leicester academic Dr Rose Griffiths.

This month, the project announced its new Patron, MP Alan Johnson – a former postman-  at an event attended by The Chancellor of the University of Leicester, Lord Grocott, and Children’s Laureate, Malorie Blackman.

The event at Portcullis House, London, also celebrated the launch of Letterbox Orange, a new range of materials for children aged 5 to 7.

Alan Johnson praised Letterbox Club for helping foster children improve their reading and mathematics and discussed the value to children of having colourful Letterbox parcels of books and number games sent to them personally at their own address.  He also talked about the enjoyment he had had from gifts of books when he was a child.

Dr Rose Griffiths, who has led the research and development of the project from its inception at the University of Leicester, said: “The day was really good fun, and we were pleased that so many people from the local authorities involved were able to join us. Their role is crucial in making sure that the parcels reach the children – especially for children who are not in a settled permanent family.”

Booktrust chief executive Viv Bird said: “Too many children in care underachieve in education. Letterbox Club’s parcels are designed to encourage fun learning. Research shows that many children are making significant gains in their standardised reading scores and improving their maths.

“Carers tell us time and time again how excited children are when the parcel arrives, how much the children enjoy reading their own books, and how Letterbox Club helps improve literacy and numeracy skills.”

The Letterbox Club started with just 20 children in Leicester in 2003, and now reaches over 7,500 children aged 5 to 13 each year across the UK. To find out more, see www.letterboxclub.org.uk . The Letterbox Club is hosted by Booktrust.

 

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Notes to editors:

For more information: Dr Rose Griffiths, School of Education:  rnag1@le.ac.uk

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