WORDS: Adrian Beck
Fellow dads, we’ve got this!
Like the book about anti-gravity, our kids are sure to find books unputdownable!
The solution is simple. If we want to get our kids reading, the first step is setting a good example. We need to show them that reading is important to us, if we want our children to think the same way. This might be as simple as reading one of our own books in front of them. Or we could take our kids on a trip to the bookshop or library to stock up on stories. We could also try surprising them with a new book from their favourite author. There are plenty of ways to get involved and demonstrate the importance of reading.
When I was a boy, I discovered my inner-bookworm thanks to my mother and my grandfather. They were always on the lookout for books I might like. These days, I happily play this role for my daughters, because often kids just need a little nudge in the right direction to discover their own love of reading.
Here are some further tips that might work for you…
Make Reading Easy
Kids can’t get into reading if there are no books in the house! Have books readily available, and highly visible. Maybe consider a bookcase in the living room as well as their bedrooms. Give them no excuses!
Support kids’ choices
If we want kids enjoy reading, we must let them choose their own books. Whatever gets them turning pages is a win! If they love Minecraft. There’s a book about that! Footy? Yes, there’s plenty. And even if they love toilet humour – I think you’ll find there are one or two books along those lines too.
Model good reading habits
This one is my favourite because it gives dads an excuse for some me-time! As mentioned, kids benefit from seeing you reading for fun. This reinforces the idea that reading is a lifelong pleasure, not just something teachers make kids do. (And no, staring at your phone does NOT count as modelling good reading habits!).
Read-alouds aren’t just for bedtime!
And they’re not just for little kids either. Reading does not have to be a solitary pastime, especially if your kids have reading challenges. Why not pick a book to enjoy together? The rise of audio books shows that we all love to be read to, no matter our age.
Be A Dag!
When you’re doing the read-aloud thing, don’t be afraid to use funny voices. Putting a sense of theatre into your reading can really pull the kids into the story. And kids love to laugh at their dads. Or is that just my kids?
Treat authors like Rockstars
I would say this, because I wish I was a rockstar! But introducing kids to book creators can really help engage kids’ further with their love of stories. I’d suggest taking kids to author events, showing kids author updates on social media to build anticipation of new releases and I’d also try encouraging your children’s school to invite authors into the classroom, to discuss all their storytelling secrets!
Dads – there are no excuses! If we get involved in our children’s reading journey to help them connect with the right book, there’ll be no stopping them. Good luck!
Adrian Beck writes funny, action-packed stories for kids. He is the author of over twenty books, including Stop the Dad Jokes! and the Derek Dool series. Adrian lives in Melbourne with his wife and two daughters who outvote him on everything!
Stop the Dad Jokes is published by Penguin Books and available at all good book stores.