It isn't easy being married to a literacy specialist. I have clear ideas about the literacy experiences I want for our children and have deeply engrained philosophical beliefs about the essential skills that will support a life-long love of reading and learning. Long before we had children my husband listened to my stories about the importance of reading, of exposing children to language from birth, and of the opportunities to celebrate print in every day experiences. There were no surprises when the shelves in the nursery became piled with books and they were treated much the same as the toys in our house.
I always imagined the power books and stories would play in our family, but I never anticipated the magnitude of my husband's involvement in the reading routine. We have equally shared this special part of our children's upbringing starting with the birth of our first son, and it is without hesitation that my husband will pick up a story (or three) to read with one or both boys. I have been in awe on many occasions as I've listened to my husband bring a story to life with his amazing voice, or while I observe his ability to question the boys in a way that keeps them engaged with each turn of the page. Whenever we leave the library with a new stack of books a large part of the conversation on the drive home has to do with how excited the boys are to share the new titles with daddy. Mommy, which book do you think Daddy will want to read first? Do you think Daddy will want to read ALL the books at the same time?
Unlike me, my husband has not spent the better part of his career in a classroom. He is an architect. Sure his knowledge of trucks and construction equipment has bolstered the already large obsession with backhoes, front loaders, and the like, but it is his innate ability to show a love of reading and the incredible connection found through stories that makes my heart flutter. The boys now have their own adventures based on the stories they've read together. For example, Tool Box Twins (by: Lola Schaefer) is a simple story about a young boy who helps his dad as he completes small jobs around the house. Every time a drawer needs tightening, a bolt screwed in, or a lightbulb changed, my husband and the boys will call out "time for Toolbox Twins!" The job will be completed with much excitement as each arms himself with a set of tools (admittedly one set is plastic).
Stories have shaped some beautiful conversations between the boys and my husband, as well as some of the more humorous exchanges I have heard in our house. As far as research goes, I took the opportunity to talk with our three and a half year old about reading with Daddy. When I brought up the topic it was met with an excited, "I like reading with Daddy because he is very cozy." Upon further prodding about favorite stories to read with dad I learned that Iggy Peck Architect (by: Andrea Beaty and David Roberts) and Goodnight Goodnight Construction Site (by: Sherri Duskey Rinker and Tom Lichtenheld) are amongst the top choices.
I can't imagine a drive home from the library without our conversations about what story daddy will want to read first. The architect in our house has laid an amazing foundation when it comes to our boys and literacy, and he continues to build incredible memories along the way.
Have you heard about the #DadsRead campaign with Zoobean and The Good Men Project? This fabulous event is helping us celebrate the gift of reading that dads share with their children. Learn more about the campaign in this Huffington Post feature.
ABOUT CHRISSY K
I am mom to three boys (one with several life-threatening food allergies) who will never own too many picture books or create Pinterest-worthy snacks. Simply Chrissy K is a place to find helpful tips on parenting that stem from my work with families and design ideas based on our adventures building a home from the ground up.
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