Read aloud time can be a special time in dadís relationship with their kids. This time spent together can build an enduring bond. When small children sit in the dadís lap or alongside dad as they read, they all enjoy the closeness. When we read to any children, small or large, the common stories and information we share create a bond of shared experience and knowledge.
Many of the best loved read aloud books are stories. Stories seem to be able to make a special connection with the human mind. They seem to have a special power to hold us under their spell and transport us to new places and new experiences, as well as to help us revisit familiar ground. By reading aloud, dads join children in feeling that spell and taking that journey.
In too many cases, the typical recreational activity that dads share with children is sitting in front of the television, otherwise known as the idiot box or the boob tube. When watching television, dads have little input into what takes place, other than adjusting the volume or changing the channel. In contrast, we share much more of ourselves with children as we read aloud to them. For example, we use different voices and ask questions about what occurs in the book.
As we read aloud, dads can talk about the book with children. This gives us insight into how they see the world and what is on their minds. This insight enables dads to better understand the children and to relate to them more effectively.
Reading aloud offers dads and moms an inexpensive way to spend time with children. An outing to the library is free, as long as we return the books on time, and even if we buy books, these can be shared and swapped with others. Even better, like a well-loved toy can be played with for years, books can be reread time and again. Even when children grow older, they can enjoy revisiting an old favorite, understanding it better and seeing it in a different light. Come on dad, what are you waiting for?
Dad reminder: You can start to read to your kids at ANY age. It's fun for the kids and dad. It really is a dad duty!
- George Jacobs, Ph.D. and Wan Loh Inn, Ed.D.
Dr. George Jacobs, Ph.D. and Dr. Wan Loh Inn, Ed.D. are the authors of many books (including "The Read Aloud Guide", textbooks for teachers and students, curriculum guides, and children's storybooks).
Find out more about reading aloud to your kids.