How to Read to Your Child
Dads have to make a special effort to read to their children in a world where television and video games dominate. It is important for dads to promote reading by reading your children when they are young. Encourage them to read on their own as they get older. Instill a love of reading in your children and you will help ensure that they have a lifetime of personal and career growth. (Taken from NFI’s best-selling brochure, 10 Ways to Be a Better Dad.)
Tips for Investing through Reading
- Start reading to your children at an early age. Even before your child is born, you can begin the habit of reading with your children. During the second trimester, babies can begin recognizing voices. Read a book together with Mom – your baby can hear the rhythmic sound of your voice as you read aloud. Once baby is born, reading out loud can be soothing to him or her.
- Make reading part of your daily routine. Kids thrive when they have a predictable structure and routine; not only that, but making reading a set part of your day will ensure you don’t get too busy and skip it. Bedtime is a great time to read together to help your child settle down for the night, or try making storytime part of your morning or after school routine. Set aside 30 minutes every day for reading, either together or separately, and make sure the TV and computer are off during that time.
- Encourage your children to read to you. This will help them improve reading skills, literacy, and comprehension and gain confidence in reading out loud. It will also give you an opportunity to praise and encourage them or coach them through a particular area they’re struggling with.
- Make reading fun. Use different accents when you read out loud for each of the characters. Let your child act out the story as you read with stuffed animals or toys. Encourage him or her to pick out books that interest them, which will also give you insight into your son or daughter’s personality.
- Take your kids to the library on a regular basis. Your community library offers your kids the chance to explore new interests and imaginary worlds through hundreds of books. Every couple weeks, make it a daddy-child “date” to go to the library and pick out 5 or 10 new books to read together. Your library probably also offers reading programs or special events that will make reading fun and encourage your child to expand his or her literary horizons.
- Keep reading together even when your child is older. Your child will outgrow the stage where he or she needs you to read out loud, but there are ways to still bond over books. Read the same book separately and discuss with each other what you think. Pick a specific area you want to learn about together and get different books on the topic and share what you’ve researched. Gather the family together to read through some classics. An NFI staff member fondly recalls her dad reading aloud the J.R.R. Tolkien Lord of the Rings trilogy when she was in middle school.