Maybe I’m exaggerating a bit in the title here, but I’m pretty stoked out on an article that I recently read. Steve Kilpatrick, a National Representative for the National Children’s Study, wrote about research studies that highlight the importance of fathers reading to their children. He points out that the studies find “Fathers’ reading matters for children-A LOT!” And how much reading are we talking about? Just 20 minutes a day. As a quick aside, I am sure that when mothers read to their children it is also important. But I’m pattin’ my Dads on the back tonight.
Kilpatrick cites three specific studies. The first, from America, found that fathers boost their child’s expressiveness and language development when they read to them regularly. Again, just 20 minutes a day. A Swedish study found that when fathers read regularly to their elementary-aged girls, it helped to prevent depression and improve their mental health later in their lives. In Britain they found that when fathers read regularly to their school-age children the child’s reading level advanced faster than children whose fathers only read them once a week. So this is all a bit heady…what’s the point?
The point is that reading with your kids is great for them. It boosts their mental development and improves their mental health. Overall, it sounds like reading to children helps make them into well-adjusted, competent little people. Sweetie and I spend hours reading together. From Highlights to Frog and Toad, Dr. Seuss to Shel Silverstein, she loves sitting together to read a book. And it has been fun to watch people gifting her books that they loved when they were kids (Captain Jack is especially good at that).
Steve Kilpatrick also points out that any Dad who has read with his children knows “how wonderful those moments are!” So that’s good news and a little boost to all the Dads out there, not just the “Stay-at-Home” ones. Know that time spent with your child in a good book counts in so many ways. And just in case you don’t have any good books lying around, let me humbly recommend Nelly Gnu and Daddy Too by Anna Dewdney. Sister Scales-of-Justice gifted this to me for Father’s Day and we have read it no less than 80 trillion times. No llama drama there, just more with the exaggerating.
Take a break from that Project, Dad. Get out from behind this computer, or put down the phone/tablet etc. Go read to your kids knowing that you are doing something that is great for all of us.