Listen: In the lead up to Father's Day Steve D chats with Warwick Marsh, the man behind Dads4Kids
In the lead up to Father’s Day, Steve D chats with former muso and CEO of Dads4Kids Warick Marsh, about their new song and the importance of fathers in the lives of children.
Warick also shares with us his top 10 reasons why dads should read to their children, so if you were looking for an excuse to share your favourite story with your kids… here are 10 of them.
1. Dads Bring Something Special to the Reading Equation
Harvard trained, Dr Elisabeth Duursma said, “In most families mothers are the ones who read most frequently to their children”.
A recent study conducted by the Booktrust in Britain found that mothers are “50 per cent more likely to read to their children than fathers… When fathers are very involved in children’s daily activities and routines, children are less likely to have behavioural problems, are more social and do better in school. In our research though, with 500 low-income fathers in the US, we found that when fathers read frequently to their children at a young age, this had an impact on their language development one year later and their literacy development two years later. We were quite surprised by this finding. What was even more striking, was that mothers’ book reading did not have this significant impact on child development. When we looked more closely at what was happening during book reading interactions, we found that fathers used more abstract and complex language.”
2. Children Want Too
Research states 83 per cent of children across all age groups say they love to be read to. Many children say they miss getting read too as they get older. Kristen Harmeling, a researcher at YouGov, a consulting firm that helped Scholastic to conduct the study said one clear message for parents from this survey is to “start early and stay at it”.
3. Develop a Love of Reading
Readers are leaders. Research shows that motivation, interest, and engagement are enhanced when reading aloud. This can improve children’s attitudes about books and foster a love of reading
4. Teach New Concepts in a Fun Way
Reading books is a great way to introduce new concepts to children in a fun and comfortable way.
If you are already reading to them regularly it will be easy to introduce books on topics and concepts that are new to them. The stories in the books and the stories you tell will introduce them to different speech sounds, new vocabulary, and a love for knowledge.
5. Build Vocabulary
The more words you use, the more words a child knows and can use.
Children’s books have been shown to use more unique words than television, movies, or other media. New words encountered in context are easier to define and understand.
6. Improved Academic Success Reading advances learning
Numerous studies show a direct correlation between reading to a child and academic success. Students who are read to have a higher aptitude for learning and more positive attitude about school. Linguistic information is best stored in the brain auditory. Children who listen to books being read over many years are more likely to develop competence in written and verbal communication skills.
7. Reading Builds the Brain
Children understand at a higher level than they can read. Learners can typically comprehend text that is two or more grade levels above their independent reading level.
8. Improve Decision Making & Critical Thinking
Reading out loud allows you to develop your child’s critical thinking skills. By asking your child to think about things outside of what is contained in the story, it helps them grow and develop their imagination and critical thinking skills.
When reading with your child, you have the opportunity to discuss topics and ideas that might not come up in the normal course of events. Children’s author Katherine Patterson said, “Books are a dress rehearsal for life.” When children pick their own books, they tend to pick the same type of texts (over and over). If Dad helps in the book pick the children are more open to change. Children tend to be more open to new genres and themes when read aloud.
9. Fathers are Role models
This is the case for both boys and girls but especially for boys. If the only person they ever see reading to them is their mother or (usually) female teacher, they start to see reading as a female activity.
Fathers reading helps to prevent this belief. When your child sees you reading, or when you read to them, you set a good example and tells them reading is important and valuable. An extensive Bureau of Statistic’s study by the Swiss Government showed that if a father does not go to church, no matter how faithful his wife’s devotion, only one child in fifty will become a regular worshipper. If a father goes to church regularly, regardless of the practice of the mother, between two thirds and three quarters of their children will become churchgoers (regular and irregular).
In statistical terms, a child is 19 times more likely to follow the father’s leadership in this area than a mother’s leadership. It seems that children look to fathers as leaders in the family. Fathers are important role models for their children.
10. Bonding & Building Relationships
In some ways this is the most obvious and the most important. Spending time reading with your child is an opportunity to get closer, both physically and emotionally. Even if you don’t snuggle up, just being close to your child to share a book can foster a much deeper bonding and build a much better relationship.
Listen to our conversation with Dad4Kids CEO Warick Marsh in the player above.
Warwick Marsh, former touring muso, and CEO of Dads4Kids wrote the song titled “You are the One I Love.” Then Christian Sony award winning producer Peter Stevenson, from Turnaround Music, added a fantastic arrangement. Warwick’s daughter Melodie and Sharon Stevenson improved some of the lyrics and Chris Andrews, tough but tender voice, became the voice of Aussie Dads.
Find out more about Dads4Kids