Skip navigation to main content

Abby’s Reading Heroes Volunteer Story – “She’s absolutely blossomed… that’s down to being in a secure environment.”

Written by Lily Kehoe, 25th March 2024

Reading Heroes matches volunteers to read with care experienced children and young people in order to spark a life long love of reading and to help improve the children’s confidence and well being.  We read with children in foster care, in kinship care with extended family and those who are being supported by Early Help teams who are aiming to keep families together.

With the number of care experienced children in the UK growing and the research telling us that they are more at risk of social, emotional and mental health problems, Reading Heroes is a more important project than ever.

Abby reads over Zoom with a girl in foster care who has recently turned seven. The foster carers have now been granted permanent care of the girl and her brother.

Abby: When I started reading with her, she was very recently in foster care and she was very confused and upset. And she couldn’t read at all. She’s absolutely blossomed. I’m not putting that down to me, that’s down to being in a secure environment. But within a couple of months she started trying to read short paragraphs, and she’s come along in leaps and bounds. Now she reads fairly fluently.

To start with she said she wanted to read stories about ballerinas, unicorns and gymnastics. She’s black, and Hope (the Reading Heroes Co-ordinator at The Reader) managed to find a true-life story written by a refugee from Sierra Leone who became a ballerina – Ballerina Dreams by Michaela and Elaine DePrince. We read that over and over. She loved it. We’ve read other books that are related to ballet like Dogs Don’t Do Ballet by Anna Kemp. And we’ve also read a few unicorn books and other age-appropriate things in a variety of different subjects, like Tropical Terry by Jarvis.

This is an extract from an article which first appeared in issue 76 of The Reader Magazine.

Contact us

Get in touch and be part of the story
You can also speak to us on: 0151 729 2200
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.