Sign up for Fathers’ Story Week 2013 & Fathers Reading Every Day!

20 April 2013

The Fatherhood Institute is inviting Britain’s dads to get into the habit of reading with their children via Fathers’ Story Week, set to take place across the UK in the week leading up to Father’s Day, on 10 to 16 June.

Fathers’ Story Week, now in its third year, is a nationwide celebration of the power of dads’ reading with their children. It takes place in schools, nurseries, libraries, prisons – wherever dads can be supported to help their children’s learning.

Children whose dads read regularly with them and support their education and learning, do better at school and have improved life chances (1). But evidence suggests dads read less with their children than mothers (2), are less likely to be seen reading by their children (3), and are less likely to be invited to get involved by schools and family services (4).

This year, for the first time, everyone taking part in Fathers’ Story Week is also invited to sign up for Fathers Reading Every Day (FRED) – a 4-week supported reading programme which can help dads and children develop a reading habit to last a lifetime. FRED is already operating in primary schools in London, Manchester and other UK cities, and staff and volunteers can now train to run the programme themselves for less than £300 per agency (5).

Adrienne Burgess, Joint Chief Executive of the Fatherhood Institute, said:

‘We know from the research evidence that when fathers are involved in their children’s learning they have a significant impact on their well-being and learning outcomes. Too often schools and other settings overlook their responsibility to engage with dads as well as mums – especially when the family is separated. Fathers’ Story Week is a great opportunity to start reaching out and getting more dads through the door, and Fathers Reading Every Day is the perfect way to build on that and help dads and children get into the reading habit.’

Fathers’ Story Week is endorsed by a host of celebrity supporters, from TV presenter Jeremy Kyle and Olympian cyclist Chris Boardman, to well-loved children’s authors including Julia Donaldson and Michael Rosen; and by key expert organisations including the Family and Childcare Trust, 4 Children, PTA-UK and the National Literacy Trust. Leading Construction Industry Scheme contract & payroll provider Hudson Contract has generously provided financial support.

The Gruffalo author Julia Donaldson said: ‘I’m delighted to support Fathers Story Week, and I hope a record number of dads and schools will get involved this year. In my experience fathers are great storytellers – and great actors. When I do my book shows I often need a little help from the audience, and ask “Who’s got a dad who’s good at telling stories and doing the different voices?” The fathers who are volunteered by their children are always brilliant at transforming themselves into farmers, cattle thieves, dogs, elephants, or whatever else is required.’

Free resources now available for download on the Fathers’ Story Week website include activity plans, template letters and a research summary for professionals; and for dads, top tips on how to read with your child; how to get your child into reading; and what to do if your child is a reluctant reader.


1 For a summary of the benefits of dads’ positive involvement in their children’s education and learning, see the Fatherhood Institute’s Research Summary on Fathers’ Impact on their Children’s Learning and Achievement.

2 Only 13% of dads say they are the main reader with their child, according to a February 2013 Booktrust poll. Read more on the Booktrust website.

3 One in three dads is never seen reading by his children (compared to one in seven mms), and below average readers are four times more likely to say their dad doesn’t encourage them to read, according to research by the National Literacy Trust. Read more on the NLT website.

4 In a survey of local authority managers conducted for the then Department for Children, Schools and Families in 2007, only 14% of secondary schools, 17% of primary schools, 19% of special schools and 23% of nurseries rated themselves as ‘father friendly’.

5 In the FRED programme, fathers spend 15 minutes a day for two weeks, reading with their children – then 30 minutes a day for a second two weeks. Each father documents the amount of time spent reading to their children and the number of books read. At the end the FRED provider holds an event to celebrate all the great work the dads and children have been doing. FRED in the US has been shown to improve children’s reading accuracy, comprehension and rate of reading; their writing; and their behaviour. It can also improve attainment in maths. The Fatherhood Institute is offering training, resources and ongoing support for 2 people to run FRED as part of their own service (we recommend one staff member and one volunteer dad per agency/setting) for £299. Read more about how FRED is working at a primary school in Lambeth.


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