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Looked after children’s perspectives of books being delivered to the home during the Letterbox Club Scotland project

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)26-58
Number of pages33
JournalInternational Journal of Child, Youth and Family Studies
Issue number3/4
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jan 2018


The low educational achievement of looked after children1 is well documented in the United Kingdom (UK) and internationally. However, official statistics do not reveal the nuances of individual children’s lived experiences nor children’s agency. This article gives weight to children’s perspectives and reports on the views of looked after children (aged 6-11) in Scotland during The Letterbox Club project. It specifically investigates children’s perspectives of reading practices in the home and their responses to books delivered to them over a six-month period. Data was gathered from three distinct but inter-related phases of the research (1) literacy profiles completed by the children in collaboration with their carer(s) (2) children’s comments on evaluation sheets contained in each of the six parcels (3) individual conversations with children at the end of the project. The findings reveal the heterogeneous nature of looked after children with multifarious reading proficiencies and reading habits and routines. The children made choices about where and when they read and with whom, expressing opinions about books and authors and using the contents of the parcels to take action and gain greater ownership over their own learning. Finally, the contested nature of children’s agency is discussed and the implications for future research involving looked after children.

    Research areas

  • looked after children Scotland, reading practices, agency, home literacy

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