The Bookworm Club
Kenora-Rainy River Districts Child and Family Services has participated in a provincial literacy initiative that has been underway since 2012 called The Bookworm Club.
The Bookworm Club grew out of a 2011 Practice and Research Together (PART) Learning Event that focused on improving the educational achievement of children in care and is closely modelled on the UK-based Letterbox Club. It involves mailing packages once a month over a period of six months to children in out-of-home care (e.g. kinship care, family-based foster care, or customary care, etc.). Packages contain developmentally appropriate books, games, and other related materials and are wrapped in brightly coloured packages. Packages are personally addressed to the child or youth at their current out-of-home placement.
The goal of The Bookworm Club is to improve literacy, motivation for reading, and educational outcomes for children in out-of-home care. A multi-site pilot was undertaken from July 2012 to December 2012 with 131 children and their caregivers from 12 Children’s Aid Societies (CAS) across Ontario. The program is now in its second year and has grown to include 535 children and their caregivers from 22 CASs. Evaluation of the program took place during the initial pilot and continues during the second year of the program.