2 September 2016 | Parents and reading

The importance of dads who read

Father with sons in library with books

One of my favourite family photos is of my husband and Mr 12, when Mr 12 was only weeks old. My husband is lying on our bed reading a book with our baby son lying on his chest, wobbly head focused on the book. Be still my beating heart – two of my favourite men reading together!

When the kids were very little, I would always buy a picture book about dads for them to give to my husband on Father’s Day. Now, we’re almost past the picture book stage but we still give him books on Father’s Day.

Some of our favourite picture books which feature fabulous dads are My Dad by Anthony Browne, Up on Daddy’s shoulders by Matt Berry and the beautiful Owl Moon by Jane Yolen.

There’s also a marvellous dad in Danny the champion of the world by Roald Dahl, an absent but loving dad in The fourteenth summer of Angus Jack and the absolutely gorgeous dad in Finding Serendipity by Angelica Banks.

Studies such as this one from Harvard University show there are numerous benefits for kids and dads when they are either sharing a story together or for kids when they see their dad reading. It creates a special bond, it’s a lovely time to have a cuddle and children’s behaviour and literacy improves.

So it’s important for kids to see dads pick up a book for pleasure and perhaps discuss it. Imagine a dad telling his kids at dinner – “I’m up to a really exciting part in my book where the good guy has been trapped by the bad guy and I can’t wait to read the next chapter so I can see what happens next!” Well, maybe!

Doesn’t matter whether it is fiction or non-fiction, business or pleasure, the latest bestseller or a classic, literary fiction or a throw-away airplane book. It matters that kids – who idolise their dads – see their dad reading.

A not-so-subtle hint – go buy Dad a book for Father’s Day!



Great post – books and stories are things Dads and kids can share in so many ways.

September 2, 2016 at 10:36 am


Is a book voucher okay?! The boy is giving that to his dad! My husband’s reading has definitely influenced my boy’s interest in history – what my husband has read for pleasure, my boy now studies at uni. I think whilst the kids are so heavily involved in studying for school, there is little time – or energy – for reading for pleasure, but as parents we both try to fill them in on what we are reading to keep them in touch with the book scene. I hope Brett has a lovely, bookish Father’s Day!

September 2, 2016 at 11:23 pm

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