Mum’s are invited to put their feet up this Father’s Day and let the Dads share in some of the bedtime rituals – such as reading the bedtime story! This week’s blogger is Felicity Sly, a Teacher Librarian at Don College in Devonport and CBCA Tas Committee Member.
As Father’s Day looms, it seemed like a perfect opportunity to have a look at some titles that feature dads, and to consider the role of dads in reading to children and the effect this has on the future literacy and reading.
“… 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” (Fatherhood Research and Practice Network, 2019, para 1). Not only do children benefit from being read to by their fathers, but fathers have also reported that they feel closer to their children through sharing this bedtime activity. It has also been noted that fathers interact differently during the reading session, than do mothers, with conversations generally ranging far beyond the content in the book being read (Schwanenflugel & Knapp, 2019).
Frank Woodley’s video provides 5 tips for reading aloud to children; especially targeting dads in his suggestions.
Tip 1: Be playful
Tip 2: Add sound effects
Tip 3: Add actions
Tip 4: Give life to the pictures
Tip 5: Get into character
Frank Woodley 5 tips for reading aloud to children.
After watching the Fran Woodley video view other men reading picture books in this video compilation by Penguin (2020).
Dads don’t feature prominently in picture books, so here are some Australian titles to get you started.
The Man Who Loved Boxes (Stephen Michael King):
Dad isn’t great at expressing love in words, but is great at doing things with his son.
I Spy Dad! (Janeen Brian & Chantal Stewart):
There are lots of dads, but finally the narrator spies her dad.
Harry and Hopper (Margaret Wild & Freya Blackwood):
Dad has to break the news that the beloved dog, Hopper has died, and help his son to cope with loss.
Cheeky Monkey (Andrew Daddo & Emma Quay):
Dad is doing the hands on activities with his son, with mum as the incidental adult in the story.
Cheeky Monkey read by Grandma's Storytime.
My Dad Thinks He’s Funny (Katrina Germein and Tom Jellett):
Full of dad jokes!
Kisses for Daddy (Frances Watts & David Legge):
In the only anthropomorphic book in this list Baby Bear doesn’t want to kiss his parents goodnight…but Daddy Bear whilst performing the bath/bedtime routine, manages to give lots of kisses, and finally receives a kiss and a hug.
Chrysalis Montessori. (2019, December 2). Kisses for daddy.
Molly and Her Dad (Jan Ormerod & Carol Thompson):
The only title in this list that is overtly ethnically diverse starts with memories of her Dad, before he arrives from overseas to entertain her friends.
I can’t create a list without including Bob Graham’s dads. They are kind and involved in their family: Queenie the Bantam, Let’s Get a Pup! and The Trouble with Dogs! are great places to start.
So…Dads, if you’re not already sharing the story reading in your home, it’s a great time to start.
Happy Father’s Day
Fatherhood Research and Practice Network. (2016). The benefits of fathers reading to their children: Tips for fatherhood programs and dads. National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse. https://www.frpn.org/asset/the-benefits-fathers-reading-their-children-tips-fatherhood-programs-and-dads>
Penguin Books Australia. (2020, August 5). Read aloud videos by dads. https://www.penguin.com.au/articles/2790-read-aloud-videos-by-dads
Quinn, S. (2009). The depictions of fathers and children in best-selling picture books in the United States: A hybrid semiotic analysis. Fathering: A Journal of Theory, Research, and Practice About Men as Fathers, 7(2), 144-158. https://doi.org/10.3149/fth.0702.140
Schwanenflugel, P. J. & Knapp, N. F. (2019, June 16). A father's role(s) in reading. Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/reading-minds/201906/fathers-roles-in-reading