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Literacy development in foster placement: Taking care with literacy. / Barbara Verna O'Grady

Swansea University Author: Barbara Verna, O'Grady

Abstract

This research is concerned with investigating literacy development in the foster placement and the role and contribution of the foster carer in that development. Historical research shows the family (and that includes the foster family), as providing the literacy foundations for future academic succ...

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Published: 2006
Institution: Swansea University
Degree level: Doctoral
Degree name: Ph.D
URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa42748
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Abstract: This research is concerned with investigating literacy development in the foster placement and the role and contribution of the foster carer in that development. Historical research shows the family (and that includes the foster family), as providing the literacy foundations for future academic success in school. Many studies have shown that Looked After children fare poorly in mainstream education, so our understanding of the literacy practices within the foster placement needs now to be advanced. This investigation presents the findings of a survey and structured and unstructured interviews, which were identified as the most appropriate methodologies to fulfil the research objectives. The questionnaire design elicited the degree of literacy awareness and activity in the foster placement, followed by interview schedules that allowed deeper meanings to be assigned to the more measured survey results. As the research area is a newly developing field a grounded theory approach was employed. The results of this research offer indications that literacy development within the foster placement is taking place, and explanations are offered about the way foster carers are instrumental in equipping Looked After children with 'literacy life skills'. Foster carers do feel a responsibility towards developing literacy in the home and provide a range of literacy-based opportunities, yet a more thorough, appropriate training would raise a heightened awareness in foster carers of what more they could do to utilise more flilly the materials they provide, and at the same time, develop their own literacy needs and confidence in supporting literacy development in the foster placement. Institutional weaknesses also prevent fiarther development in this area. The implications of this research mean that developing literacy in foster placement will only become common practice when the pivotal role of the foster carers in raising educational achievement (both for themselves and their Looked After children) is acknowledged by all, when resources to make it possible are in place, and when foster carers are suitably trained.
Keywords: Individual & family studies.;Reading instruction.
College: College of Human and Health Sciences