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Reading in foster families

NCB were commissioned by BookTrust in June 2016, in order to explore reading in foster families and how carers across the United Kingdom can be better supported to engage in reading with their children.

The main research objectives were to understand how foster carers currently support their children to engage with reading, how this may be affected by other factors (e.g. region, age, personal experience, foster carers' experience), and what additional help could be given to foster carers to increase this.
In order to do this, we carried out the following:

• A detailed literature review to understand what previous research has shown about reading in foster families.
• An online survey of foster carers (N = 598) and foster children (N = 35)1 across the UK. Descriptive and inferential statistics2 were conducted on the survey responses to consider how variables, such as length of time in care, may relate to each other.
• Telephone interviews with 18 foster carers and 15 interviews with foster children via Skype, Facetime and telephone.

It is possible that the sample for the survey and interviews was somewhat biased towards foster carers who do engage in higher levels of reading with their foster children, due to the self-selecting nature of the sample. This should be considered as a caveat throughout this report.

All our research followed the NCB ethical checklist, as well as adhering to the Social Research Association's guidelines. Before children took part in the survey, they were asked to seek permission from their foster carer, and foster carers were asked to check with the child's social worker before either participated in interviews.