Hey cHEwY gum gums!
A few weeks ago, I attended the 8th National Early Literacy Conference, speaking on a panel about getting men to read to children. I joined a school principal in South West Sydney, an indigenous social worker, a community leader who works with new arrivals and someone who works in a charity. We all combined to answer the BIG question, how can get men to read to children. Whether you’re a father, grandfather or in my case, an uncle, how can we get into the habit to reading aloud with the kids in our lives?
Here are some takeaway points from our intense and thought-provoking discussion.
Men do want to engage with kids
Men do want to engage with their children, whether it’s playing or spending time with them. But there may be barriers when it comes to reading, such as a language barrier or work commitments. There are schools and programs around to help adults with English so hopefully that will lead to some reading time with kids.
How do we foster a reading culture at home?
If a child is brought up in an environment where books are important, chances are they’ll be reading. But there’s no better influence than seeing the adults in their lives reading a book. My dad may not have a book to me or read any novel, but I remember seeing him reading the newspaper or a rugby league magazine for the latest NRL news. I saw him read for enjoyment, which is an important shift from just reading for study. Graphic novels and comics have lost their stigma, and audio books are seen as legitimate ways of reading a book now. So if you’re an adult reading this blog, there’s no better time to read a book.
Children will appreciate the bonding time
Some men may not see the point in reading with their children, or think that it’s somebody else’s role. But children will appreciate the bonding time regardless. They may not remember the book, but they’ll treasure the bonding time.