I would like to thank Margaret for taking the time to participate for a piece for my blog. Margaret decided she would like to share something special with us, and I believe it's special too.
As far back as I can remember I have read. I have recollections of visiting our local Library one evening per week with my Father. The children's section was up a windy staircase and was a little piece of heaven for me. I had my own library card and felt so important.
My Mother used to take me to an independent bookshop called Books Unlimited every few weeks and let me pick up whatever tickled my fancy at the time.
I had a standing order for Twinkle magazine which I then upgraded to Bunty and subsequently, Smash Hits and other teen magazines. I became addicted to Nancy Drew mysteries and from then on my love of books was ingrained in me.....
When I became a Mother I was completely sure that books would be a part of each of my children's lives. They got their own library cards ( now electronic, unlike my old cardboard one ) from birth and were read to every day, regardless of age. After child four, there was not a kids book that I had not read and I still have most of them. The kids say they remember most of the stories and they still get excited by a trip to the bookshop or library.
Now my eldest is 24 years old and my youngest is 10, the kids books have reappeared on our bookshelves as we now foster kids from all age brackets. Again, I am back in storyland and getting to re read some amazing books from over the years.
We have been fostering for almost three years and have had some long term and some short term placements. I get so excited when I hear there is a toddler coming as they have rarely been read to and to see their little faces light up when you turn the page of a book that you are reading to them is just priceless!
The next age bracket is when they are just starting school. This can be challenging, as a lot of the time, they have been stuck in front of tv or games consoles and have no idea about reading, writing or even their colours. Days of the week is a common void in their vocabulary and even getting them to sit still on a chair is a battle. I try to work with this age bracket on a back to basics level when it comes to reading and the attic is searched for ABC books, jigsaws and posters to aid us along the way. I have a stash of early readers that I work through with them and providing their main language is English, this can be taught in a reasonable time with some patience and perseverance. Eastern European children take a bit longer as their alphabet is quiet different to ours.
Over time, these kids who may have never read before, or shown any interest in books, become little sponges: eager to learn, eager to read and constantly asking for another story. The ones who have left here and returned home, have all left with books and I would hope their love of books stays with them for the rest of their lives.
If the only thing I can do for these children is teach them to read, I would be happy with that. Anything more than that is an added bonus.
Thanks again Margaret, being a teacher myself I agree with the importance of reading and how it should be embedded from a young age, so they find and develop a love for a book. Your story is amazing and it takes a very special person to be a foster parent. Keep up the great work!
You can contact Margaret via twitter @bleachhouselibrary