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Dan Welch
Colorado Department of Human Services
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Maggie Spain
The Bawmann Group
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October 27, 2010

Fathers Reading Every Day Program Encourages Dads and Kids to Read Together Each Day During the Month of November

Reading, writing and arithmetic are the foundations of our children’s education. And while teachers across the nation are doing their best to engage children in the classroom, parents need to take an active role in educating their children at home. This isn’t a job strictly for mom either. A study conducted in 2009 by the National Center for Fathering found that while many Americans recognize the role fathers play in their children’s lives, an overwhelming majority (97 percent), believe that fathers need to participate more in their children’s education. Colorado fathers can begin contributing to their children’s reading and academic success by participating in the Fathers Reading Every Day (FRED) program throughout the month of November.

FRED is a four-week program originally designed by Texas A&M University to encourage fathers to read with their children every day. The Colorado Promoting Responsible Fatherhood Initiative offers this program to Colorado fathers every November. Dads are asked to read with their children for 15 minutes a day during the first two weeks of the month and 30 minutes a day during the second two weeks of the month. By filling out a reading log and pre and post-program surveys on www.coloradodads.com, dads will be entered into a drawing to receive free books or gift certificates to local bookstores. Fathers can also find links to appropriate books and reading tips on the Colorado Dads website.

“FRED is an easy and fun way for fathers to become active in their children’s education,” said Dan Welch, fatherhood and family specialist with the Colorado Department of Human Services. “Our goal is to help fathers recognize the benefits of reading with their children and continue to make this contribution to their children’s development long after completing the FRED program.”

Reading with children should feel fun and rewarding for fathers. Here are eight quick “Tips for Reading with Children” from the Minnesota Humanities Center that will make the experience a memorable one for dads and kids.

1. Spend time with your children talking, telling stories and singing songs. These are fun and important activities that help children get ready for reading.

2. Read to and with your children every day. This shows that daily reading and spending time together are important.

3. Let your children help choose the books you read together. This will help keep them engaged and always wanting to read more.

4. Find a comfortable place to read and sit together.
This will help both of you create a special feeling at reading time.

5. Change your voice and the pace that you read to fit the story. This makes the story more interesting for children.

6. After reading a book talk about the story.
Discussing the pictures and the main ideas in a book helps develop understanding.

7. Let your children see you reading books, newspapers and magazines.
This sets an example for your children that you enjoy and value reading.

8. Take your children to the library on a regular basis.
Libraries are a wonderful place to discover books and so much more. Best of all, by signing up for a library card you can check out your children’s favorite books for free!

In October 2006, the Colorado Department of Human Services, Colorado Works Division was awarded a $10 million federal grant over five years to strengthen father/child relationships and improve parenting. Colorado is one of just two locations nationwide, including Washington, D.C., to receive this federal community access grant. The Responsible Fatherhood Initiative distributes more than $1.1 million in community awards to state, community and faith based organizations to assist in providing direct services to fathers and families. Awards of up to $50,000 are distributed per program per fiscal year. For more information on a fatherhood program in your community, please visit www.coloradodads.com.