EDITOR’S NOTE: City Dads Group is working with longtime partner Dove Men+Care to create “how to” videos for the grooming products company’s “Dads Care” campaign. We will be featuring the videos and scripts our members appear in. This one features Drew Bennett of BenSpark Family Adventures and our Boston Dads Group with a little help from his children talking about how to set up a reading routine.
Reading is such an important activity for our family. My wife and I read to our children when they were small every night, and it has paid great dividends. My daughter, Eva, for example, is now a voracious reader, reading and rereading multiple book series. She even started a book club with her friends during quarantine and is collaboratively writing a story with one of her other friends.
Here are my tips for how to set up a reading routine with your children:
Talk to your child about what interests them
Whether video games, animals, art, fantasy, adventure or comedy, start with what you learn will hold your child’s interests start there. Eva likes like fantasy with a little bit of action and some mystery. Andy is interested in action, comedy and fantasy together; he also enjoys books with animals who are the stars.
Set aside time just for reading
Start with just 15 to 30 minutes each day of screen-free reading. If your children are old enough, they can read on their own. If they have younger siblings, encourage them to read to there little brothers or sisters. It will will help them become better readers and will give them bonding time. Encourage young readers to read to their grandparents, aunts and uncles, or cousins — whether in person or via video chat.
Make books available in your home
One reason we bought the house we live in now is because it had a floor-to-ceiling bookshelf in the hallway. At some point every day, you’re gonna go down that hallway and see all those books. My wife and I filled it with the books that we loved at first, then we added books just for the kids and their own books. They are always there, in view and available, on that bookshelf to read at any time.
Use other media, formats as a springboard
If a book has been made into a movie or a television series, then read the book together and watch the show together. Another avenue to pursue is to read comic books or graphic novels together. These have the best of both worlds: amazing art and great dialogue. Or buy or borrow audio books and let your children listen to them at bedtime. While its difficult to visit book stores and libraries these days, you’ll find apps that allow you to borrow virtual copies of books and read them on different devices.