Year of the Book: Guys Read with Guys
By Suzanne Loring – Children’s Literacy Foundation
Before we had kids my husband had never read aloud to a child. Even after our boys were born, reading stories to them was not his favorite go-to activity. It trailed far behind the preferred games of tackle daddy, blocks, and matchbox car crash -up.
After some gentle arm twisting-or nagging, depending on your perspective-, I got him to start reading bedtime stories to our boys. I can tell you that while reading aloud may have been a challenge for him at first, it has been a mutually beneficial experience for him and the boys.
And, I’ve seen the benefits: It has shown my kids that daddy likes to read too, which reinforces that reading isn’t just for girls, but fun for everyone.
Both of my boys look forward to spending time with dad over stories before bed, and my husband loves to spend this quiet time with his kids away from work and the stresses of daily life. It has created a special bond among the three of them.
My husband now knows that my son is afraid the wolves and coyotes will come to get him after reading a book about a rooster that can’t crow. He never would have known this otherwise because it is not a conversation that would likely have been brought up if not for the book. And as the boys get older, reading stories that cover difficult topics our kids may face may be a helpful way for my husband to engage them in conversation around these difficult subjects.
They have fun together. They make silly animal noises together and laugh. And the fun carries on outside the book- like when they read about a tractor and then see a real tractor just like it- they all have a shared excitement.
There are plenty of opportunities for guys to read aloud to children. Grab a book, magazine or sports section of a newspaper, flip through a photography or art book and talk about the pictures, or read your car manual out loud to your child while you are trying to fix your engine.
You don’t have to be a strong reader to enjoy books with your kids. You can tell the story by using the pictures. Think about reading aloud as special time spent hanging out with your child one-on-one using books as the activity.
The more you do it, the easier it gets. Check out this great website for more tips on reading aloud and books that are perfect for all the guys’ guys out there: www.guysread.com.