Reading and Learning with Dad!

Here’s to the dad who makes sound effects and does silly voices when he reads aloud. Here’s to every dad who read the book just one more time. And here’s to every dad who lets the kids take Hop on Pop literally!

These are all great ways dads can help grow confident young readers. Here are a few more!

Make reading together a daily priority

Fit reading with kids into a busy day by adding it to the calendar. Like the soccer game or dance performance, you don’t want to miss, add reading time to the week’s events. This gives kids a chance to look forward to some quiet time with Dad and makes reading happen when it’s convenient for everyone. Fathers who talk to their child via FaceTime or Skype can read together on the call.

Let kids ask questions

Erase the cozy image of kids sitting quietly listening intently to the story. Stop while you read to ask questions or answer your child’s questions. Show kids what you are thinking and how you are making sense of the book as you read it. This lets you talk about the skills you are using to understand what you’re reading and encourages them to practice those skills, too.

Let kids read to you

Kids love to learn new words (especially BIG words), and books are one of the best ways to discover new vocabulary. New readers need cheerleaders, so reading to you, another family member or even the family pet provides a nonjudgmental audience and a comfortable way to explore books and practice reading. But you should still ask questions—ask your reader to tell you something new or surprising he or she learned while reading.

Follow reading interests

Take a weekly trip to the local library with the kids to find new titles to read together. Select books that interest you—perhaps famous athletes, historical events, or how things work—but let kids make plenty of selections of their own. Help them find books that match their interests, and make connections between books and the world by going on a reading adventure. For example, read One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish before packing the tackle box and heading out for a day of fishing. Or enjoy If I Ran the Circus as a prelude to a trip to the big top or zoo.

Do your own reading

Make sure your kids see you reading for pleasure and that you talk about what you read with them. Did you just read an interesting article? Share what you learned to start a conversation. Have a variety of reading material in your home—magazines, how-to books, novels, cookbooks, nature guides—to model how you read to learn, to follow your interests, and just for fun!

Keep track

Keep a list of all the books you read. Or make a podcast or fun video together when you find a title the whole family loves. These will make great memories to treasure and help kids learn new skills and remember what they’ve learned.

When you find time for reading aloud with your child every day, you’re doing much more than reading. As you bond over books, you’re also building your child’s vocabulary, developing their critical thinking skills, and fostering a lifelong love of reading.