Every year the UK celebrates World Book Day on 1st March. It’s a wonderful carnival of stories and reading, especially for young children who might get to dress up as a favourite character on a school day. But how involved are dads in their children’s reading?
Dads are VIPs in their children’s lives. We know at Home-Start that local dads can be working long hours or shifts and miss bedtimes with young children or maybe live away from their children. Some dads aren’t so confident to read out loud. But reading with your children doesn’t just have to be at bedtime, or difficult, as our dads discovered.
Home-Start has been working with dads on a programme called FRED, Fathers Reading Every Day. Dads learn about the importance of that close and quiet time with their children and the regularity of reading for the benefit of the child’s language development. Dads are learning about their children through the books they choose and like and are more involved in their early education as a result. Using FRED, dads keep a note of the reading they have completed and can see the time they have spent, reaction from their child is noted and a bonus gift of books is presented after 6 weeks.
Glen, who completed the FRED programme last year said;
"I wanted to learn about FRED as a busy dad working shifts and understand the benefits. Even if I am reading the paper or the cereal packet is reading to him! The project has made me feel closer to my son and him to me."
FRED has already been completed by nearly 20 dads in the local area and is gaining more interest. It costs £250 to support a group of dads in the FRED programme.
Jane Lyons, FRED lead and Organiser says;
"It’s wonderful to see dads like Glen developing with his son and having fun. Sometimes dads do find it hard to engage one to one with their child, especially when their children are very young. FRED gives them a structure and it creates a lovely bond between dad and child, as you can easily see with Glen".
If you are interested in this new initiative or wish to donate funds to support more local dads, please call the office 01903 889707 or go to www.home-startarun.org.uk for more information.