• Independent Evaluation of Letterbox Club

    Independent Evaluation of Letterbox Club

    An independent evaluation of the effectiveness of the Letterbox Club in Northern Ireland has been carried out by Queen's University, Belfast.


    Read the full report (PDF)


    The evaluation shows there is clear evidence that children who participated in the Letterbox Club made significant progress during that period in relation to their reading accuracy and comprehension and also their number skills.

    The results of the findings echo those from earlier evaluations carried out on the impact of the Letterbox Club by the University of Leicester. The findings were announced at an event at Stranmillis College, Belfast, on Wednesday, 20 April.


    Children's author and Letterbox Club's Northern Ireland patron, Malachy Doyle, interviewed two of the children who had previously received Letterbox parcels and presented them with an Easter egg each for being brave enough to come up on stage. He said:

    I have seen this project go from strength to strength. I've seen the delight on the faces of the children, opening their colourful packages. I've seen them play the games with friends and carers, listen to the books, read the books and talk with great enthusiasm about the joy of being a member of the Letterbox Club.

    Sir Robert Salisbury, chair of the Literacy and Numeracy Strategy in Northern Ireland, spoke of the importance of the Letterbox Club in enabling looked-after children to access materials at home to enhance their learning in reading and number and fully endorsed the programme as an important intervention.

    Helping young fostered children to meet their potential at a key stage in their development.

    Kate Lewis, Director of the Fostering Network Northern Ireland, which delivers the programme in partnership with Booktrust, introduced the event and talked about her own experiences as a young reader when her grandfather, who lived too far away to be a regular visitor, would select and send books for her and her siblings, and the lasting memory of the joy and excitement of receiving these books.


    She added that the results of the report were evidence that 'simple actions can make a real difference' and


    Access to the fun and inspiring educational materials that the Letterbox Club sends is helping young fostered children to meet their potential at a key stage in their development.


    Dr Karen Winter, one of the authors of the report, focused on the range of books sent out in the Letterbox Club parcels and said that it was clear from the study that Letterbox books were 'carefully, sensitively and wonderfully selected'.


    Professor Paul Connolly, Director of the Centre for Effective Education at Queen's University, Belfast, talked about the main findings and the positive impact of the parcels on the children. He recommended that further research be carried out to evidence these findings.


    The Letterbox Club has helped me do more with Susan. We play the maths games and use the books on a daily basis for paired reading. Books can be expensive, so we really appreciate the Letterbox Club.
    Foster Carer

    Research was carried out on 268 children from the 2009 and 2010 programmes by the Centre for Effective Education at Queen's University.

    21 April 2011

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