Why Dads Should Read to Kids (And No, It’s Not Just About Tired Mums!)

Date :
August 26, 2019

Saying ‘Dads should definitely read to their kids’ seems a bit like a no-brainer, right? Surprisingly, according to a study conducted by the Australian Reading Council, only about 13% of Australian dads are actively reading to their kids on a regular basis. When we think of the role of a dad, books don’t tend to be the first thing that comes to mind. But now is the time to change all of that!

Dads are a wealth of knowledge and fun that kids should be able to tap into and getting out a book at bedtime and opening little minds to new ideas and exploring new worlds is a great way to do that together. Read on to discover more about why this is beneficial to both kids and their dads!

Mr Lizard from Goodnight Gumnuts

Read to me, Dad!

Every person capable of reading approaches a book in a unique way. They focus on different aspects of the story, they ask questions about different ideas or plot devices. So, if both parents are reading to their children, this can only be a positive thing for kids too! They get two different perspectives to learn from. According to the Australian Reading Council, when children are read to by their fathers on a regular basis, that child’s language development increases as they grow older. With mums, their literacy levels increase. It’s a fascinating study and quite an interesting peek into how the genders approach parenting and reading to their children in general. But what other benefits are there?

Dads make reading fun!

Many dads make reading less educational – they’re all about the fun. They’ll make up silly words or put on crazy voices to get their kids to laugh and play with the story. They encourage their children to use their imaginations and their creativity. They ask questions and break the story down into relatable anecdotes, so their kids can think about how the story might apply to them.

Koalas laughing from Goodnight Gumnuts

The choice of story might be different to what the kids read with mum. There is also the novelty factor – if mum is the main reader in the family, or spends time helping their children with educational tasks, having Dad help can seem more like fun. Of course, this all depends on the parent – it can be vice versa in some cases!

There’s also the health factor – and not for the kids this time! Many dads who read to their kids find it an enjoyable activity. Their kids are relaxed and happy. They’re laughing and talking and just being themselves. Dads often find that within 6 minutes, their stress levels have dropped and their heart rate is reduced. What a perk!

Read more about Mr Lizard, from The Complete Adventures of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie – the most dad-like character in the May Gibbs universe!


Librarian Bec

Librarian Bec
Right now, Librarian Bec’s hard at work at your local library, sharing a passion for reading with little people and big. Bec writes about inspiring little readers and embracing lovely literature.