Reading is down to dads too!

New research from the National Literacy Trust shows that far fewer dads than mums encourage their children to read.  In fact one in three fathers gives no reading encouragement to their children at all.  What’s more, the statistics also highlight that one third of dads are never even seen with a book in their hand, compared with one in six mums.

There is a great case for dads to step up their involvement and make a positive impact on their children’s reading development, as the research also found that the children who are encouraged to read by their parents are achieving higher reading levels at school, and that those who see their parents reading think more positively about reading than those who don’t.

Richard Madeley is supporting the call by Words for Life for dads to get involved with their children’s reading. Richard says:

“Dads can make a huge difference to their children’s reading development, and there are lots of easy ways for dads to get involved. They can read a chapter a night to their kids, read school books together, or even put up their feet and be seen reading a book or the newspaper themselves!

“I started reading to my children when they were just babies, putting on the different voices and having fun with the stories. My kids have grown up to be big book fans and I think this was partly down to me enjoying books with them from an early age. Have fun reading dads!”

The role of fathers in encouraging communication and literacy development in their babies and young children is set to become even more important under the new system of flexible parental leave being introduced in 2015.  New mothers will be able to return to work two weeks after childbirth and share the rest of their maternity leave with their partner, so a dad’s input will become even more crucial.

Children learn behaviours from both parents, and boys in particular benefit from male role models.  Words for Life has plenty of ideas and inspiration for simple activities dads can do with their children to help them develop better literacy skills.

  • Nearly 21,000 8 to 16-year-olds from 128 schools in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales participated in the National Literacy Trust’s second annual literacy survey at the end of November/December 2011. 

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