Reading with Looked After Children
The Reader Organisation’s partnership with Liverpool LACES, which focuses upon reading at home and encouraging Looked After Children to take up reading in their free time.
Here’s C’s story:
C had suffered a lot of neglect in his early life and was falling badly behind at school. His carers were also very concerned about his possible autism and behavioural problems, they read with him but felt more help was desperately needed. C was losing much of the enjoyment of reading.
C obviously found it very difficult to concentrate and was quite unstable within the sessions at first. Although he immediately responded to being given a book to hold and flick through, once he opened it his confidence seemed to dwindle and he would give up because he could not find his way around the book or recognise the words. As we were reading it was clear when C was beginning to drift, and his carer would pop in to tell him to concentrate.
During the next few sessions we made our way through a Goosebumps book and C wanted to predict what was going to happen, he asked questions about what certain phrases meant. C read aloud to me but found it difficult, getting words mixed up and not recognising the names of the characters.
A couple of funny poems about food really got C laughing. Reading mixed with being allowed to talk, chat and laugh, seemed to allow C to relax into a routine of reading and talking, and going back to reading.
C read each poem aloud and then asked me to read it again, listening carefully and laughing at the rhymes. After reading poems C was also very keen to carry on with the story book and we were able to stop and chat about what might happen without losing the flow of the book. C talked about the characters in a personal and sensitive way, saying:
“Those sisters don’t hug each other very much, I always give my sister a hug before bed.”
C has connected particularly well with poetry as he can read a whole poem aloud with help and gets immediate pleasure from this achievement and the satisfying humour and silliness of children’s poetry. C now enjoys looking through the poetry book and choosing bits to read in a confident way and C has settled into a routine of reading a story book and concentrates much more easily. C has also mentioned reading and laughing with his carer about the poems in the Spike Milligan book that I gave to him. C’s social worker told me how much he enjoys the reading sessions and is planning to get him a bookshelf and some books so that his enjoyment of literature can be properly fostered.