Part Seven: To a Child, Love is Spelled T I M E

Spending Time Reading Books and Telling Stories to Kids

One of the most powerful activities is to read to kids, but many parents don’t because they are not good readers themselves. Does this hold you back? Reading to kids is not just important to help master language, but makes an enormous difference in the lives of children.

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storybookdads.org.uk/

In this series, I have been sharing the stories of ordinary parents and the simple ways they spend time with their children. Today is a little bit different. Reading to children is one of the very few ways these parents can spend any time with them. And it’s only by recorded voice, not face to face, or even in the same house. Yet, it connects the parents and kids across oceans and years.

Have you heard of the group Storybook Dads and Mums? These dads and mums are in prison and have very, very limited together time. With the help of the group, these parents create an audio recording of themselves reading a book. These cd’s or dvd’s are given to the children along with the book, who listen to their parents voices over and over and over. In the words of Jacob, “I miss my Dad so much. When I feel lonely I listen to my CD and hearing his voice makes me feel better.” This lessens the trauma for the children and helps the family stay in touch. The likelihood of reoffending is 6 times lower for families that maintain contact. Some of the prisoners needed support for basic reading but they didn’t let this didn’t stop them.

kids and booksFrom its start just a dozen years ago, the program has spread to other countries and situations. Some hospitals and hospices help parents to read books and make recordings. This little boy whose dad is in the military listened to a story recorded in his daddy’s voice over and over and over.

For convenience, some books have the recording device built in. There are apps for reading stories on digital devices. Do not let the excuse that you are not a good reader get in the way. Children have lived inside their mother’s voice, and the first voice recognized after birth is usually the father’s. If reading a book to kids is not doable for you, you can also tell stories. Do you agree another way to spell love is R E A D?

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