Our Dads Read program is running again this year due to popular demand. The thought I have in mind as I write that sentence is that there has never been any question that I would skip it. Professionally, I am happy to know that I am encouraging reading in a meaningful way to parents. Personally, the feedback from dads buoys me up for months and I look forward to this time of supplying reading nutrition to families. In fact, if I had to place this program anywhere on my list of priorities for my students, this one sits at the top.
I need to preface any further commentary of this program to say that I wish it were my brainchild, but that I have adopted and adapted the idea from several places. I am grateful for being able to communicate and share with librarians who have let me develop my own version of their programs.
A brief overview of the program reveals how simple its structure is. I guide the fathers of our Grade 3 and 4 boys to read aloud three books to their sons over three months. We celebrate at the end of the months of reading with a breakfast and a game-show trivia contest. I do choose books with a range of interests and readers in mind. The trivia contest is the big finale and definitely takes me time to prepare for and pull off, but families primarily do the hard work. They work hard to fit time to read into their lives. If they enjoy it for the daily reading, or the trivia contest, either reason is fine with me!
The ‘Dads’ can, and have been, grandfathers, brothers, and mothers. Ideally the program is aimed at attracting male role models in the boys’ lives. The simple message of ‘Seeing Dad Read’ as expressed in a Today’s Parent article from September 2013 is that actions speak very loudly for boys.
The feedback I have heard from the parent participants speaks volumes. The main message in my comments has been that such a simple new habit to adopt has the biggest ripples for good. One of my favourite pieces of feedback came from a parent in the first year of the program about adopting a new bedtime routine and how it had made all the difference.
Boys’ literacy is a passion of mine and I would love to hear from you! I look forward to knowing more about how you engage male role models or encourage reading in your students.