Dads are the people we look up to. They’re our role models, our heroes. So it’s little surprise that dads have a huge role to play when it comes to getting children, especially boys, to love reading.
A love of reading increases the chances of academic success, but one problem is that in the past, boys may have seen reading as girl territory. Dads, as role models, can change this perception. Craig Wilkinson, author of Dad, says: “A young boy’s father is his primary role model and he will look to his dad to show him how to live life. If reading is important to dad, chances are it will become important to his son.” The idea is that dads can show boys that reading is fun and interesting, both by reading to their sons and daughters, and by letting children see them reading.
There’s something in it for dads too. “Reading together is one of the most valuable and enriching ways of spending quality time with your children,” says Wilkinson. “You are discovering new things together, teaching them a priceless habit and spending uninterrupted time with them.” Story time is also a chance to share thoughts and opinions and to learn about your children’s interests. Dads can use this time to relax and have fun with their children and find out about how their children see the world.
Ways to make it work:
- Make the time: schedule time into your day, pledge 30 minutes a day, read a story after dinner, or fit in a story whenever you can. Even if you’re away, you can always read a book over Skype or Facetime.
- Get involved: take your children to the library or the bookstore, and show them what books you find interesting. When selecting books, choose those that you and your children will enjoy together.
- You don’t have to only read books: there are also newspapers, magazines, graphic novels and comics to choose from. Or page through a photography book and examine and talk about the pictures. You can even tell stories to your children. As children get better at reading, Wilkinson suggests letting them read to you.
- If children are old enough to read books by themselves, why not read them as well? Then you and your children can share your thoughts and opinions.
Don’t know what to read?
Take a look at these websites, they are sure to inspire you: