One of the keys to success in life is a child’s ability to gain knowledge. The most common way to gain knowledge is through reading. The dads in this section talk about instilling the joy of reading to their children by reading to them and by encouraging them to read.
The DADvocate Project asked dads about their own reading habits. 34% of dads read 1 or more hours per day. The chart below shows what type of content dads are reading by how much time they spend reading. The most interesting and telling thing about this chart is that dads are reading blogs more than any other content type. This is evidence of New Media’s influence and helps to prove that the DADvocate Revolution is influencing the conversation on fatherhood.
The project also looked at the coloration between income and hours spent reading. Those who spend More than 2 hours daily make an average or $20,000/year more than those who read 4 hours or less per month.
Peter is @FotoDad. He is a dad blogger and is actively involved in his children’s lives. Peter talks about coaching his kids and you can hear in his voice and words that he is an awesome dad. His blog can be found at http://fotodad-life.blogspot.com/ He writes about photography, cooking, reading, and doodling. Some of his doodles are quite good.
Kevin: Can you tell us about your kids?
Peter: I think they’re the best kids in the world, but I guess every dad should, or does that. My son is six years old. He’s in first grade now, and that’s been quite a thrill. He’s very smart, loves to read, he’s big into sports. He’s playing soccer right now, which I’m currently coaching his team, and he also enjoys playing baseball, which we start the summer with and I was coaching that.
My daughter is just now, or I guess will get to start playing soccer either in the spring or next fall and she’s already ready to do that. I guess, just great kids. Very attentive and really not problem children so far, knock on wood.
Kevin: So, what’s one of your favorite experiences you’ve had with them?
Peter: Every day I think I have new great experiences with them. I know that’s kind of cliché or whatever. With my son, he keeps me on my toes because he’s very inquisitive. He started asking why probably before he was two, and he hasn’t stopped, and he doesn’t stop asking why until he feels comfortable with the answer that I’ve given him. And it’s something that I encourage, just to continue to ask questions until you feel comfortable with the answer that you’ve been given, and you have an understanding for it. And I think that is paying off. His teachers, so far, he’s been lucky and he’s had two good teachers, one in kindergarten and one in first grade who have just absolutely loved that he is as inquisitive as he is.
I think so far that’s been helping him in school because we had our parent/teacher conference last week and about midway through the conference she said, “You know, normally this conference would last a lot longer, but I really have nothing to talk about because he’s such a good kid, he’s such a good student. He’s reading almost on a third grade level and doing math there too.” So it’s like, wow, I guess we’re doing something right at home.
And with my daughter, she’s fearless and I think that’s partially because she is the second child and having to keep up with her brother, who’s three years older than her. She keeps you on your toes too, and I’m learning all about the girl things. Playing princess and playing with the teddy bears and whatnot. I mean, every day she’s doing something that’ll make you laugh. She has gotten to where she’s got a lot of, I don’t even know what they’re called. But they’re real small, maybe Fisher Price princess characters or whatever. They came with a castle, she’ll have all of those out and all of the horses that go with them. She has two fairly large castles, and she’ll have both of them set up and before you know it she’ll have her brother in there playing with her and they’ve got pieces everywhere. It’s good times, you know.
Kevin: What’s one of your biggest successes as a parent?
Peter: I don’t know if part of the successes with him with reading and school has been that since from an early age I’ve always read to him. We’ve always had books around in the house and both of them are real big into reading books or having books read to them.
I think that’s a big success. I think that will be something that is a lifetime tool that they’ll learn, if they can learn to read early and enjoy to read, then I think that’s a good thing. That’s a thing that I think was taught to me growing up, was we had books in the house all the time and to this day I still enjoy reading.
So, I guess another parenting success, if you’d call it is both of our kids seem to be very compassionate. I guess that’s how to describe it. Always looking out for each other and other people. Even at the early age that they are.
Chris is @DadOf Divas. Chris is a college administrator full time and a dad blogger. I met Chris about a year ago and he is truly a great guy. One of the features of Chris’s site is highlighting different dad bloggers. He also does a lot of giveaways. Chris loves his girls and his blogging has provided opportunities to review products for the girls and even go on trips. You can find Chris’s blog at http://www.dadofdivas.com
Kevin: Is there anything you want to tell us about your girls?
Chris: I hear from other parents, but it’s really kind of a shocker to me as a parent is how different kids can be from one another; how different siblings are from one another. Our two girls are very different from one another; not polar opposites but they just have very different interests, different needs and wants. One is much more into sports and being active all the time. The other one wants to go up to her room and just sit and read books for hours on end. It’s just been a really interesting ride as a parent to watch both of their unique personalities set in.
Tonight is going to be an interesting night because our oldest daughter just lost her first tooth so the tooth fairy is going to be visiting tonight. She’s very excited about that.
Kevin: What’s one of your favorite experiences you’ve had thus far with your kids?
Chris: Well, I guess in thinking about that, for me it’s just little things. I love being able just getting down on their level, having fun and play with them. I work a lot at my full time job so during the week my time with them is limited because I get home, we have dinner (the routine is a little regimented) but we usually have a little bit of time between dinner and bedtime that we can actually get down and play with them, dance with them, play games with them, go for a bike ride, whatever it is.
But it’s those little experiences like that. I know there will be other big experiences that we’ll have the ones that I will remember for a long time. I just today posted a blog post about an experience that we had this last weekend. I brought my oldest daughter as well as her friend to Chicago. We took a road trip to Chicago because I had been given at opportunity to get some free tickets to go see a show at a children’s theater as well as to go to the American Girl store in Chicago and review the store. They gave me a free lunch for all of us that came at the American Girl café. That was a blast. That’s definitely going to be one experience that I know that I won’t forget because it really was a lot of fun and it was just a great day. It was a very long day, but a great day. I guess, all in all right now because they’re still young, a lot of experiences have just been small, little things where you just get to connect with them, interact with them and just be a dad. I think for me those have been some of the most memorable experiences that I’ll remember and cherish in the future.
Kevin: What’s one of your biggest successes you’ve had as a parent?
Chris: That’s a harder question. I sometimes have a harder time identifying those successes myself to be perfectly honest. I think one of the things that I’ve been proud of is that both my wife and I have done a lot to try and encourage our girls to be very literate and enjoy reading. We both enjoy reading and we want our girls to have that passion for literacy as well. My wife is studying to be a librarian right now so I guess that makes sense. But I think we’ve instilled that in both of our girls so I’m really happy about that.
I think one of the things that we’re continuously working on to be a success is trying to do what we can to help our girls to be self-reliant as well as inquisitive, creative and to be willing to be themselves. To not feel like they have to conform to the world around them completely. They should always know who they are and be respectful of who they are. Now the verdict is still out on how that all will transpire as they get older and face more peer pressure to conform and things like that. I think at least now they are both very unique individuals. They’re definitely not conforming to anyone’s will at this time. But you never know as they get older. I guess those are a couple of things that come to mind. That’s a harder question.
Kevin: What are you doing to encourage literacy? Anything beyond reading to them?
Chris: We’ve read to the girls ever since they were infants. That’s just something that we’ve always done is read to the girls. We have a routine and every night we do reading. I was given the opportunity through my blog to review a company lately called “Head Sprout” and its company out of Seattle. It’s a really neat company for early readers, age 4 or 5, that early reading stage. They make reading fun. It’s an online program. There are 80 different lessons within it. We’ve seen a marked increase in the ability of our daughter to read while using this program. She’s almost at lesson 30 out of 80. Our goal is to try to get to 80 by the end of this summer. But we typically try to get her to do one a day. Each lesson is about 20 minutes but it’s fun. There are characters and they make it fun. You have to help the character do different things. It’s very scientifically based.
We actually mentioned it to our elementary school curriculum director. The curriculum director said, “Oh, you’re using Head Sprout. I checked out Head Sprout for the school.” That was a good sign in of itself that a curriculum director is hearing about this program and they’re thinking that it’s something good for the kids too. It doesn’t hurt them. My wife was a teacher prior to being a stay at home mom so she knows how to work with kids. She taught first and fourth grades. She helped early readers to read as well. She has a lot of patience for all of that and working through some of the trying times when they’re trying to read and you’re like, “Let me say the word for you” instead of letting them work it out. You definitely have to be patient as you’re working through it as well.