Dad's Role in Learning to Read

There are certain things that dads are known for teaching their kids - riding a bike, catching a football, or driving.

But did you know that learning to read is something that dads are actually better at teaching than moms?

When dad reads to his kid, he tends to interact differently than mom does. Studies have shown that women focus more on the content of the book they are reading, while men tend to have more wide-ranging conversations about the book. They tend to bring in more topics from outside contexts. Moms generally ask their kids  questions about the facts in the book, while dads pose more abstract questions that challenge kids to use their imaginations and connect what they are reading to outside experiences. As a result, reading time with dad results in better language development. Interestingly, according to studies, girls' language development benefited even more than boys' from having their dads read to them regularly.

Fathers serve as important reading models, especially for boys. When the only people they ever see reading are their moms and their (usually) female teachers, boys often begin to see reading as a girly activity. Watching dad read can prevent the development of this detrimental (and inaccurate) belief. Recent research from Italy shows that kids imitate their parent's reading behaviors even closer than originally thought. Dads can show kids that its not only cool to read books, but also newspapers, instruction manuals, and sports updates.

Reading with kids benefits dads too. Fathers have said that reading to their kids at bedtime helps them feel closer to their kids, especially if its after a day of being away at work. It's a great way to relieve some of that dad guilt when you can't be around as much as you would like.

So don't stress over reading kiddie books! Pick something that you are interested in and give your kid a peek into your world while teaching them one of the most important skills in life.