Research on out‐of‐home child care has revealed that foster care programmes focused on educational attainment and reading have the potential to improve the academic outcomes of children in care. However, no studies have examined which elements of these programmes positively benefit children's emotional well‐being. This article presents evidence of the positive effects of implementing a successful educational action, dialogic literary gatherings, in a children's residential care institution. A qualitative study using a communicative‐oriented methodology was conducted and involved five participant observations and eight daily life stories with children in out‐of‐home care in Catalonia (Spain). The children's reflections demonstrated that reading classic books, such as Dickens' Oliver Twist, deeply influenced their feelings and self‐conceptions and created new and exciting meaning in their lives.