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Dad's the Word

17Th January 2018

Dads who read to their toddler-aged children have four-year-olds with better language and literacy skills, new Melbourne research has found.

And these benefits remain even after researchers take mothers’ reading habits out of the equation, highlighting the important role fathers play in early childhood development and the need to better target reading programs to men.

Murdoch Children’s Research Institute lead author Dr Jon Quach said the study was one of the first to look at the longer-term impact of fathers reading to their children.

“Communication is such an important part of everyday life,” Dr Quach said.‚Äč

“The faster we can help children develop those skills — how well they understand someone and how well they express themself — the earlier they’re equipped to interact with their environment.

“There is lots of research about the benefits of mothers reading, but these findings suggest fathers are potentially an untapped resource.”

The MCRI-led study analysed surveys about reading habits in 405 two-parent families with two-year-old children.

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