Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Read to Me, Daddy!

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Reading Is Good

We take this so much for granted that it almost seems silly to entitle a section of a blog article with it!  And I’m going to let that title stand alone.

Bonding Is Good

Ditto what I said above!  Whether bonding with a parent, a friend, a sibling… bonding is essential to the human experience.  Especially for children.  

Bonding with Dad is Great!

Just ask any Dad or any kid, bonding with Dad can be great fun.  Now, just imagine combining all of these factors.  Bonding with Dad through reading!  
The bedtime story is such a quiet special time for a father and child to spend together.  It’s a time of sharing and laughing generally undistracted from the outside world.  It’s a time when promises can be made and kept and dreams can be launched.  What could be better?
I decided to do a bit of a round-up this week.  Below are a few articles and stories that will inspire Dads to spend this special time with their child and make it a comforting routine.  

Why Bond with Dad?

We live in a society where families come in many different varieties and “flavors.”  Not every family has a father and some have two.  We also live in a time when traditional roles have been questioned and challenged.  Children need to bond with whomever the parent figures are in the home in which they live.  If a father figure is present, it is important the child bonds with him.  Bonding with a father figure can boost confidence later in life, benefit from the different style of interaction than with a mother figure, and even experience a difference in peer interactions later in life.
“Recent studies have suggested that children whose fathers are actively involved with them from birth are more likely to be emotionally secure, confident in exploring their surroundings, have better social connections with peers as they grow older, are less likely to get in trouble at home and at school, and are less likely to use drugs and alcohol. Children with fathers who are nurturing, involved, and playful also turn out to have higher IQs and better linguistic and cognitive capacities.”  http://www.pregnancyweekly.com/dads/father_child_bond.htm

Boost Literacy and Critical Thinking

Reading Rockets wrote an article about the role fathers play in their child’s literacy development.  What’s really nice about this article is that it addresses issues such as not being with your child every day or if you yourself don’t like to read - and in a non-judgmental manner!  There are many ways to bond with your child and build their literacy skills in ways other than the traditional read-aloud.  http://www.readingrockets.org/article/role-fathers-their-childs-literacy-development-pre-k
This Dad here blogs about the books he has chosen to read to his twins -  complete with reviews of each of the stories and how he used them to connect with his children.  http://www.readalouddad.com/?m=1
Scholastic’s article is about the benefits of reading aloud in general.  It discusses its importance in boosting literacy skills and bonding, but also as a discussion opener and facilitator to help children through transitions and issues in their lives that may not have come up otherwise.  http://www.scholastic.com/parents/resources/article/reading-together/make-connection

Special Challenges

Afraid you waited too long?  This story is about a father who started reading aloud with his nine year old daughter.  The reading streak lasted until she went off to college!  http://www.npr.org/2011/06/18/137223191/father-daughter-reading-streak-lasts-nearly-9-years  The daughter in this story went on to write a book about the experience!  Here is her website with a few recommendations of books you can read with your child based on grade.  http://www.makeareadingpromise.com/streak.html  Your child is never too old to read to.  If your child is resistant, you can likely find other ways to bond with your child around literacy by modeling reading and often using books or other written material as a source of information to help your child find answers to questions they have or issues they may be facing.  
In prison?  This article by Rebecca Gross is actually focused on mothers, but there are just as many fathers in prison who still want, need, and deserve to bond with their families.  Books can be a wonderful part of that.  http://arts.gov/art-works/2015/prison-family-bonding-through-books
Deployed or away from your children for another reason?  Letters, Skype, Email, YouTube and many other resources can still keep the bond.  I know of a family whose father read a bedtime story to his children via Skype each night at bedtime.  You could even pre-record yourself reading stories if you know it will be hard once you are away.  This article presents 10 tips on bonding with your child while deployed.  http://www.pbs.org/thisemotionallife/blogs/ten-tips-bonding-your-kid-during-deployment

How About You?

How do you use books to bond with your child?  Are there certain books you would recommend?  Do you have any special traditions around books? Have you faced any special challenges bonding with your child through reading?

You might also enjoy Checklist for Encouraging a Growing Reader, Hey Baby What Are You Reading, and Creating a Cozy Reading Space.

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