Since the year 2001, when my first children’s book, Fly, Malaya, Fly! (originally written by my then 10-year-old youngest son and therefore my co-author) was published, I have become a reading advocate.
What's a reading advocate?
"Someone who values literacy and therefore actively pursues it by encouraging children to read." As they grow up, these children will love reading and understand its importance in their development—and success—as adults.
A reading advocate, therefore, helps build a literacy-rich environment. To this end, I continue writing books with Christian values that children will enjoy reading and learning from.
In my book talks, before Covid-19, I emphasized the importance of reading aloud to children every day, until the kids are able to read on their own. Although I know a few fathers who read to their children, the image in my slides was of a mother-and-child, which is the norm.
Then the pandemic forced both parents to work from home. An image I never used before came via social media. My niece sent me these delightful photos of her husband (not her) reading my book to their child, Praise.
“A study involving 400 fathers found that kids benefit more when fathers read bedtime stories than when their mothers do it.”
The results showed a huge impact on the kids’ language development after a year, and their literacy, two years later. The mothers' reading had no such significance.
Fathers used more “abstract and complex language,” often linking events in the book to their own experience. For example, when a cave was in the book, many fathers narrated the time they entered one and how amazed they were. On the other hand, mothers focused more on the book’s details, often asking children to count objects or identify colors.
“The dads’ abstract thinking is better for kids' brains because it's more challenging.”
With time on my hands, I dug into the Internet for more data. I was gifted with heaps of heartwarming images:
Look closely at the photos above—salute the new reading advocates called "Dad."
Photo credits: Doreen (collage above); the Net (collage below)