Dads Rock: Sharing the journey of reading
Do books matter? I don’t remember my parents reading to me when I was younger. They were great parents and encouraged me to do well at school, but I can’t remember them thinking it was important to have a bedtime story, or indeed to read with me during the day. One of my parents left school young, and always felt embarrassed about their level of reading ability.
Somewhere in the mix of this, I still developed a deep love of comics, then Tintin and Asterix. I still love comics; I love the detail of the visuals, the worlds that are created. My teachers also encouraged me to read and take home books. I loved going to the library, it was a place of limitless possibilities and even the day when I was ordered to hand over my shoes to an older boy didn’t put me off seeking out books, and looking forward to the adventure they held.
Fast-forward a few (I’m being generous to myself here) years and the days and nights where I don’t or can’t read to my five-year old son feel like days where we lose something. I remember telling him stories from the day he was born, and speaking to him and with him. Now when we sit and read a picture book it is as if we are both discovering something, both taking part in a journey. Some of it is about rediscovering classic stories, and some of it is about discovering new worlds. The quiet simplicity of being in that world with him is priceless. I know he has picked up more words from reading together, and the times when I catch him ‘reading’ to himself are gems of the future when he’ll really be able to read the words.
I read recently that children pick up more vocabulary from their fathers and this definitely resonates with me. I remember wanting to hear about my dad’s day at work, and listening to his stories. But families come in all shapes and sizes and children benefit from a variety of voices.
Every Saturday I read to the dads and children who come to the Dads Rock Playgroups. Reading to up to 30 kids can be really daunting, but it’s amazing to share that time with them and remind everyone of the simplicity and the power of a story. Books matter to me, but more than that, words matter, voices, stories, adventures and that small space that’s created by two people matters. So do one thing, find that story you love and share it.