As Father’s Day fast approaches I am reminded of all the time my father spent with me reading my favorite books like “Good Night Moon” or “Where the Wild Things Are”. He would be the one to take us to the library and encourage us to get lost in a book. My father enjoys reading books himself and he has passed on his zest for reading to his children. Every father can have that same influence.
Taking an excerpt from an article I recently read, the benefits of a reading dad are outlined below.;
A father reading to a child equals success in school, especially for young boys. On the BYU School of Education’s website for parents, “You Can Do This”, administrators say, “Over the past 40 years we’ve witnessed a marked increase in girls’ academic achievement. Unfortunately, there’s also been a documented decrease in boys’ academic achievement. There are several theories about why this is happening, but perhaps the most compelling is the assertion that school, and reading especially, is being seen increasingly by young boys as a ‘feminine’ activity.”
Fathers have the power to stop this trend. Jim Trelease, author of “The Read-Aloud Handbook,” wrote, “Fathers reading to children is one of the very best ways to reverse the academic ambivalence we’re seeing in young boys.” Trelease also said that studies show that boys who are read to by their fathers score higher in reading achievement than boys whose fathers do little to no reading.
In a world in which fathers seem to be a quickly disappearing luxury, those fathers who make the effort to be a stalwart part of their children’s lives are truly heroes. When a dad sits down to read to a child, he not only benefits that child intellectually, but emotionally as well. This one-on-one time can forge a lasting and mutually beneficial relationship.
Trelease writes, “When do we bond best with the young? Whenever it’s one-on-one: one-on-one walk, one-on-one talk or one-on-one read.” Reading time is the perfect way to spend some quality time and show a child that Dad cares.
Suggestions to make it work
1. Make the time
I’ve said it before and I will say it again: If you don’t make the time for reading, it will get passed over. In general, because of professional obligations, fathers spend less time at home with their children than mothers. This is why it’s important to schedule and prioritize reading time.
Right after dinner or at bedtime are great times to sit together and read. Some dads read to all their children at once or take turns reading to kids individually.
Another great time is Saturday or Sunday morning. Keep a few books on the nightstand, and when a sleepy child wanders in, Dad can pull him into the bed and open a book. Make it part of the daily routine, and reading will not be forgotten.
2. Read what dad likes
Father may prefer to read different books to his child than mother. Dad can be an active voice in what children are reading and what he reads to them. He can either pass on suggestions for library books and book purchases or make the selections himself. This is also a great way for dad to share his own interests with his child and add variety to reading material.
3. Make it fun
One of the hardest parts of reading to a child, especially a young one, is keeping his attention. Dad can help keep kids engaged in reading by making it fun and entertaining.
My kids love to read with their dad because by the second sentence they are doubled over with laughter. Using his funny voices and classic goofiness, my husband keeps our children engaged and interested in the story. This is also what my own father did. Not only does this help kids enjoy reading time, but it creates precious memories.
Another way for dad to make reading fun and enjoy quality time with the kids is to plan reading outings during vacation time. Visit the library or storytimes or even children’s-book author signings.
4. Dad can share what he reads for himself
Another way to help a child succeed in reading is to let him see his father read. Children learn from example. If a child knows his dad enjoys reading, than he is more likely to be interested. Seeing dad read can also help break the trend of boys believing reading is for girls.
Not all men like to read novels and do not need to. There are endless possibilities for reading material: the newspaper, religious material, magazines, online articles, nonfiction books, etc. The example of reading is strong no matter what the material may be. Dad can share these other types of mediums and open up avenues of interest for the child.
Father’s Day is Sunday. This year get dad a book or magazine subscription he will love or have the kids give him books he can read to them.
What is a memory you have of reading with your father? I would love to hear your comments below!