Reading is an essential activity that is linked to children’s cognitive development, academic skills, and future employment opportunities. Children often become interested in reading by watching and mimicking their parents or participating in child-parent reading routines. Although mothers have a big role to play, research shows that fathers are particularly influential for children’s language and literacy development, which means they are a promising point of intervention for efforts to improve children’s language and literacy. Reading together and engaging in other literacy activities, such as telling stories, are things that fatherhood programs can promote to help fathers model positive parenting and improve children’s developmental outcomes. Fathers’ positive involvement with their children is not just good for children; fathers benefit too. Fathers who engage more often in activities like play and book reading with their children, and fathers who are warm and nurturing with their children, report improvement in their own literacy skills and better outcomes than fathers who are less frequently or not positively involved. This brief summarizes what we know about how fathers positively contribute to their children’s language and literacy development, offers tips for how programs can encourage father-child reading, and provides a handout with tips for fathers. (Author abstract)
This brief is designed for fatherhood program providers as a companion resource to the tip sheet for dads, The Benefits of Reading to Your Children.
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