Media Contact
Rich Batten
Colorado Department of Human Services
303.866.3808
Maggie Spain
The Bawmann Group
303.320.7790

October 30, 2007

FRED Encourages Fathers to Spend Time Reading with their Children

Denver—October 30, 2007— Throughout the month of November, the Colorado Promoting Responsible Fatherhood Initiative will ask Colorado dads to devote time each day to reading with their children by participating in Fathers Reading Every Day (FRED). The benefits of FRED, created by Cooperative Extension Staff at Texas A & M University, are multifaceted and long lasting, including improved father-child relationships and increased child literacy development.

The FRED program asks dads to read to their children 15 minutes a day for the first two weeks of the month and 30 minutes a day for the last two weeks.  Throughout the program fathers can utilize a reading log to track and record their progress, filling out the number of books and time spendt reading for each day.

“Current research continues to stress the positive repercussions of father involvement,” said Rich Batten, fatherhood specialist with the Colorado Department of Human Services. “By reading with your child you’re telling them that reading is important and that spending time with them is important. Quite simply, you’re telling your child they matter.”

The child literacy center lists the following age specified tips on reading with your child.

For babies and toddlers up to 2 years of age:

  • Point at pictures and say or ask names of things.
  • Use a slow sing-song voice.
  • Use different voices for different characters; be entertaining.
  • Spend time talking about the pictures before turning the page.
  • Say a name and ask your older baby or toddler to point to the item.
  • Give huge praise each time your child points at and names an object.

For 2-4 year-olds:

  • Give your child time to look at the pictures before you read.
  • Ask, 'Where's the...?' 'What's that called?' 'What's she doing?'
  • Always follow text with your finger as you read.
  • With familiar stories, see if your child can join in or finish phrases.
  • Ask questions like: 'Why did he do that?' 'What happens next?'
  • Discuss things you both liked and didn't like and explain why.

For 4 year-olds and older:

  • Ask your child if he can remember the order of events in the story.
  • Try paired or shared reading:
    • Have your child choose the book (but if your child is a non-reader it should be one he knows; if he can read a little, it should be simple).
    • Read aloud together, with adult pointing to the words; child reads behind the adult or simultaneously if he can.
    • If a child makes a mistake, adult says the correct word and moves on.

Great reading habits are created with FRED and can easily be maintained once established. Visit www.coloradodads.com/index.cfm?page=3 to find a FRED reading log and be sure to complete the online pre and post-program survey there as well. With the completion and submission of the survey dads will be entered into a raffle to receive a gift certificate to a certificate to local bookstore.

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 two locations nationwide, including Washington, D.C., to receive this federal community access grant. The Responsible Fatherhood Initiative distributes more than $1.1 million a year 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, please visit www.coloradodads.com.