We want to help create motivated and engaged young readers. This blog is about children's and YA literature (especially New Zealand), literacy research, and ways to get, and keep, kids reading.
This ‘creating a reader’ series would not be complete without a feature about Dads and reading. So who better to take the guess spot than Tessa’s dad – Richard!
Hey folks – it’s been great reading this series and reading all your comments. Thanks for the invite to take part.
Looking back I’ve read to Tessa from day one and have continued ever since - five years later the shared time together has become something that we both miss if it doesn’t happen. When I am away from home we’ve been using video calling to continue our story time sessions.
Dad did tell some pretty good stories, but you won’t find them in books. I don’t have strong memories of either of my parents reading to me, but I do remember reading newspapers with them in bed early in the morning, and looking through the dictionary to hunt for words to help solve crossword clues. Having said that, my parents had eight kids, so they would have been reading all night!
But I saw them reading a lot. Mum and Dad always encouraged me to be inquisitive about language, and it’s been a skill that I have been thankful for throughout my life. I guess that’s what I want to pass on, so I try to read to Tessa every night.
Her mum’s a librarian - do you think there's a choice?
Seriously though, I've always read to and sung to Tessa. For me reading isn't the most important thing, it's skills and abilities with language and words that comes first. At the heart of it all is a playfulness with language – sharing with her the joy of experimenting with words and sounds and having fun. Reading together is the natural follow-on from that, and inquisitiveness will give her the appetite for her own reading and knowledge.
By encouraging her. By making sure she hears all kinds of stories. By spending time with her and using spare moments to play word games, make up silly songs, act out and act up, and trying to have fun together. I also ask her to make up her own stories and songs.
I really notice the performance side of sharing a story is what Tessa enjoys and seems to have taken to heart. She’s learnt the big picture of storytelling, the magic of voice and expression; the joy of the unexpected and the fun of it all, long before she learnt the alphabet, or how to read in any formal way.
Kids books these days are fantastic, and great fun to read aloud. Enjoy this special time with your kids.
What are your tips and advice about Dad’s and reading?
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