Evaluation finds Fathers Reading Every Day children doing better

13 October 2014


Father Reading to Children

Primary school children who took part with their fathers in a simple literacy intervention promoted by the Fatherhood Institute, have been shown to have made better progress at reading, writing and numeracy.

An independent evaluation of the impact of the Fathers Reading Every Day programme on more than 300 children at nine south London schools, found that for children who participated in FRED there was marked improvement at above expected levels in reading, writing and numeracy, when compared to peers who did not take part.

Among participating children, two fifths (42%) made progress to a greater than expected extent in their reading (more than two sub-levels) compared to 11% among those children who did not take part.

More than a fifth (22%) of children participating in the intervention made progress in numeracy to a greater than expected extent, compared to 9% among those children who did not.

And a similar proportion (20%) of children who took part made progress in writing to a greater than expected extent, compared to 15% among non-participants.

“I have enjoyed FRED because my dad reads with me and sometimes he reads to me with funny voices. I have been reading for 4 weeks every night before I go to bed, we read for 10 minutes.” Sebriah, Year 4, Holy Trinity Primary School

The evaluators found that during the intervention, fathers read on average for around five days in each week. For the small numbers of fathers who read very little to their children before participation in FRED, the time spent reading together increased such that 10% more fathers were reading for an hour a week.

Around a third (31%) of participating fathers felt that FRED had led them to read regularly to their child; more than a quarter (28%) said they had spent more time together and a similar proportion (27%) said the time they had spent together was of a higher quality.

Nearly a quarter felt their child’s vocabulary had improved, and a similar proportion felt their relationship with school had got better. Teachers and those responsible for linking the intervention to schools also felt that involvement in the intervention produced positive changes in reading behaviour and attitudes towards reading among participating children.

FRED is a programme in which dads are invited to read with their children every day for 4 weeks. It was originally developed in the US; FRED training is now available in the UK through the Fatherhood Institute – which has already trained staff in schools and early years centres in several English local authorities so they can deliver FRED on an ongoing basis.

Download the full evaluation here: FRED evaluation report Sep 2014.

Download FRED testimonies from children, dads and staff: FRED evaluation testimonies.

Watch our Youtube clips of dads talking about FRED.

Download an article about FRED by Children and Young People Now: CYP Now case study

Find out more about FRED training.

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  • Richard Edwards says:

    As a supporter of Fathers Story Week and FRED Im really pleased to see these results.. and hope it sees Educational Depts and others responding on the benefits for children. In the probation Service we work with a more challenging group of Dads and Im keen to promote (Safe) reading practice to their children in the belief it has as much benefits for Dads as the children. I feel the15 mins and 30 mins a day for 2 weeks would be too high an expectation for this group. I note the biggest jump in time read – 7% seems to be with Dads reading under an hour a week , FRED demands 75 mins – 3.5 hours a week, which I feel could put many Dads off. Does the study show suffient benefits for those reading up to an hour a week? Congratulations to those involved.

    Regards Richard Edwards .

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