Back to news

How to encourage a foster child with their reading

Olive Branch Website Images 3

National Read a Book Day takes place in September, and what better time to think about the benefits of reading? From igniting imaginations to encouraging empathy, the positives of reading for children are endless. These benefits may be even more pronounced for foster children, who often lack early experiences of reading with a parent or caregiver.

According to Book Trust, 40% of children were reported by foster carers to have a below average reading level.* There are many positive reasons to encourage foster children to read. Reading can help to establish a bedtime routine, which can be particularly important for foster families, and reading can help disadvantaged children overcome inequalities.**

As foster children are likely to have experienced much instability in their lives, they may not be used to reading books regularly. Therefore, a little extra encouragement may be required.

Here are a few suggestions for encouraging your foster child to read…


Offer a choice of age-appropriate books
Allowing your foster child to choose their book can help make reading more fun, and going to the library together can create a great bonding opportunity. Try offering your foster child a selection of books and let them choose the ones that most pique their interest. This can give your foster child a sense of autonomy, which will make reading more personalised and allow them to explore which genres they most enjoy. Consider your foster child’s age, reading level, and interests when selecting a choice of reading materials. Something too easy could be boring, but something too hard could be too challenging and put them off. The right book should be engaging.


Read aloud together 
Reading together is both a bonding experience and an effective way to enhance your foster child's reading skills. This is highlighted by the fact that 90% of foster carers who read with their child reported it made a positive difference to their relationship.*** You could take it in turns to read pages or chapters aloud and encourage your foster child to participate. This not only improves their listening and comprehension skills, but it also allows for meaningful discussions about the story.

Celebrate reading achievements
Don't forget to acknowledge and celebrate your foster child's reading milestones and accomplishments. Whether it's completing a challenging book, hitting a specific reading goal, or showing improved comprehension, make a big deal out of it. Celebratory moments can boost their confidence and motivation to read more.


Build reading into the bedtime routine
Incorporating reading into the bedtime routine can create a calming and comforting environment. Read a bedtime story together, ensuring it is age-appropriate and engaging. This practice not only promotes better sleep but also leaves children with positive associations about reading before drifting off to dreamland.


Be Patient and supportive
Lastly, remember that every child's reading journey is unique. Some may take to reading immediately, while others may need more time and encouragement. Be patient, provide emotional support, and adjust your approach based on their individual needs and interests. The goal is to create a positive reading environment that fosters a lifelong love for books.


Encouraging your foster child to embrace reading can be a transformative experience that builds essential skills. With your support, your foster child can embark on a lifelong journey of learning and imagination through the world of books.

Are you or is someone you know considering fostering? Our friendly team are on hand to answer any questions you may have, as well as support you in starting your fostering journey.

To make a start on your application, call us on 01706 558910 or contact us online and we’ll be in touch. There’s no obligation to go any further, and we’re happy to answer any questions you might have.

Read our previous blogs to discover our foster carer stories.








Fostering insights

Date published

06 September 2023

Ready to talk about fostering?

Get in touch with us today for a friendly chat

Contact Us