Paul Hughes, from North Bridlington Library explains how Saturday Storytimes have built dads’ confidence to share stories.
“There’s no magic bullet to getting dads in. Reading may not be something that they’ve done with their children before. Or they might not read a lot themselves.
“If they can come into a storytime and see how it’s done, they will feel more confident. During storytime, we link the stories with a craft session or playing with Lego. Dads like that hands-on stuff with the kids. They have some sort of structure, so it makes them feel more comfortable.
“Whether a mum or a dad reads, the approach is the same. You’ve got to encourage them.
“It’s good for children to see a man reading stories. Seeing another bloke reading and being prepared to make an absolute idiot of himself gives them permission to do the same.
“That’s the joy of reading with your children, it is such fun and builds an increased bond between father and child. You’re spending quality time and exploring imaginative journeys together. It’s really a journey of discovery, both for the parent and the child.
“You don’t have to have detailed knowledge of books. You just need to know what a child likes and we [librarians] can help choose something that’s appropriate.
“If you see other dads reading, you don’t feel so left out and strange. Parenting is a hard job and dads don’t get a lot of opportunity to talk about issues. When we’re delivering the stories, dads can be at the back chatting to other dads so you get that community sharing information.”
Paul’s message to dads is: “Just go for it because it’s so much fun. Just relax. Don’t worry about it. Your child’s not going to be judgmental.”
BookTrust works with library partners across England, Wales and Northern Ireland, sharing books and resources that encourage families on their reading journeys.
To read more about Paul’s experience and the families he supports visit BookTrust.