Hey dads – read to your kids 10 minutes a day

Author Phil Cummings with dads and kids at the Tea Tree Gully Libray's Dad's Read Event on 9 July.

Author Phil Cummings with dads and kids at the Tea Tree Gully Libray’s Dads Read Event on 9 July.

Children’s writer Phil Cummings blessed us with his presence at Tea Tree Gully Library last night, reading to mini bookworms and dads dressed in their PJs, for our Dads Read event.

We were lucky to hear Phil read his soon-to-be-released children’s book, ‘Bridie’s Boots’, due out in September.

The Dads Read initiative encourages fathers to invest in their child’s future by choosing to read to them every day. It was developed following recent research highlighting the importance of dads reading to their children during their early developmental years, before they start school.

The research shows that reading to children for just ten minutes a day is all that’s needed to strengthen their reading/writing skills, to improve their behaviour and build their self esteem.

Phil offered a lot of good advice to dads: ‘Reading to your kids doesn’t have to be overwhelming – if we spend just ten minutes a day reading with our children, talking to them, maybe sharing our stories of what has happened in our day or a story from our own childhood, that will develop a lifelong love of reading. That’s all, just ten minutes a day.’

Here’s some more great tips that you can use to engage your child through reading:

  1. Read aloud every day
    Ten minutes of reading aloud every day makes an important difference to your child’s language and literacy development.
  2. Make reading fun
    Read stories with enthusiasm! Change voices for different characters and alter the volume of your voice to build excitement.
  3. Talk, play and tell stories to your children
    Tell your child stories every day about your day, their family, exciting things you’ve seen or done. Reading, storytelling, talking and play helps your child listen and develop social and language skills.
  4. Read anywhere
    Read in a variety of places to your child. Read outdoors – in the park, at the beach and on the bus. Just like adults, children enjoy reading in different contexts and times of the day.
  5. Read anything!
    Storybooks and picture books stimulate imaginations and foster a love of literature. But read recipes, newspapers, brochures, maps and other texts to support your child’s literacy levels in all aspects of their life.
  6. Listen to and praise your child reading aloud
    Listen to your child read. Consistent reading aloud improves children’s reading and confidence. Wait patiently and let your child work out more difficult words. Praise them when they succeed and for their reading effort.
  7. Ask questions
    Encourage your child to ask questions about what they are reading before, during and after reading. Ask them what happens next, why something stated is important, and discuss their feelings about events and opinions in the texts.
  8. Discuss the language in the texts
    Move your finger under the words from left to right as you’re reading. Encourage your child to do the same when they are reading. Stop now and again and discuss a particular word. Ask what it means and what other words are like it.
  9. Don’t forget the pictures!
    Focus on, celebrate and explore the visuals that go along with the text. These can be illustrations, maps, photographs or graphics and often help your child understand the book or text being read.
  10. Be seen reading!
    Model reading to your child. Let them see you reading for entertainment and information. Ask them to join in when reading the newspaper, measuring something from a recipe, or viewing a text message.