Monday, August 16, 2010

Hey Daddy - Read to Me!

I have very fond memories of my father on Sunday morning reading the comics out loud to us. All four of us would gather up on the couch, finding our favorite place on the back of the couch, on Dad’s lap, snuggled by his side, or balancing on the armrest. We were all squeezed in together, still wearing our footie pajamas.

He would “read” the comics to us. His idea of reading was to create long, elaborate stories that probably had nothing to do with the actual comic. But the stories were always funny and the couch was always warm. It was his way of showing us his love. Our lives were enriched because of those Sunday mornings.

One of the best and least expensive gifts fathers can give their children is the gift of reading. Many years of research show that a fathers’ reading to his children increases their success in school and later in life.

Our children “learn to read” well before their formal education begins. Many have a favorite book or story that has been read to them so, so many times. Even when we have read that book twenty times already in one day, they want it read to them again. They know the book by heart. They may even “read” the story to their stuffed animal audience. They correct us if we try to hurry through or modify the story - I admit I tried it more than once. Some even pick up a magazine and begin to “read” aloud a story that exists in their imagination. What smart children!

Fathers – it’s your duty and honor to help give your children a love for reading. Your children watch your every move – let them catch you reading.

Read the sports page, the gardening articles, the comic strips, or the latest car report to them. Sure, they may not understand every word, but they will see the excitement on your face and hear it in your voice and begin to connect that joy to reading. Visit your local library with your children and pick out a couple of books you will read together each week. Write a story together. Have your children make up a story while you write it down, then read it back to them and illustrate as you go.

Thanks, Dad!

Please share your stories of reading in the comment section.

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