Even in our more culturally advanced age, the mother still tends on average to be the one who rears children in their early years, and this includes reading and story time. However, new studies show that when fathers read to their children, there are important and surprising impacts on early development and skills. Learn a bit more about why dad reading time with children provides vital benefits to skills and early learning.
Dads and Reading
Reading time is an important bonding experience between parent and child. It creates a lasting connection that really never goes away and imprints on the child for the rest of their lives. In many families where the father does most of the work and the mother takes child raising responsibilities, the connection between kids and fathers can be reduced.
When dads spend time reading to their children every day, this helps to make up for that loss of contact elsewhere. While there is no substitute for spending lots of time with your kids, reading to them can still provide a great opportunity for bonding.
Fathers nowadays do spend much more time participating in caretaking activities with their children than they once did. The idea of the stay-at-home dad is gaining in traction and acceptance all over our culture. A new study indicates that when fathers read with their children, there is a marked impact on language and literacy development and skills. Surprisingly, reading time with mom did not have as strong an impact in this area.
The study revealed that the interaction between father and child is different in general than that between mother and child. Fathers tend to link book events to their own lives. A story about painting, for example, might have the father tell the child a story about the last time he engaged in painting activities, either for work or as a hobby. Mothers, on the other hand, focus on the contents of the book and then ask children to identify aspects within the text and pictures.
Lessons Learned from Dad Reading Time
The lesson learned here is multifold: the way fathers related to kids in the study was different than mothers, and had a different effect on the kids. This doesn’t mean, however, that mothers shouldn’t read to their children. Both parents are integral to their child’s development and both offer different experiences in reading.
The best results may come when parents take turns reading with their children, and when they are cognizant of different ways to approach stories. Both parents, for example, can combine content and focus with personal connection to the stories to obtain ideal results. The study is preliminary and more work remains, but it sheds an interesting light on the different bonding children share with mother and father through reading and story time.
If you want to get your child off to a great start, there’s no time like the present! Try an interactive eBook experience like “The Old Woman in the Wood” for your next dad reading time. Then, explore the many other great reading and early literacy tools our website has to offer.