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Research into bedtime stories being told by dad


A new study from Harvard University suggests that fathers who read bedtime stories to their children are significantly improving their children’s linguistic abilities.

Bedtime stories from dad

The team studied the effect bedtime stories had on infants’ language and found that, after a year, girls in particular benefited from being read to by a man.

Leader of the research team, Elisabeth Duursma, said: ‘the impact is huge, particularly if dads start reading to kids under the age of two. Reading is seen as a female activity and kids seem to be more tuned in when their dad reads to them – it’s special.’

Different approaches

Dr Duursma also found that men and women tend to approach reading bedtme stories very differently. Where mothers tend to ask ‘teacher-like’, factual questions, fathers preferred abstract questions that sparked the imagination.

‘Dads were more likely to say something like: “Oh, look, a ladder. Do you remember when I had that ladder on my truck?”’ Dr Duursma continued. ‘That is great for children’s language development because they have to use their brains more. It’s more cognitively challenging.’

Reading to children

British research found that one in four parents never read to their small child, and only half reported reading to them every day. Parenting expert Justin Coulson added: ‘when we read to our children we expand their vocabulary. We help them to feel safe and this can have a profound impact on their capacity for learning.

‘Research has consistently shown that parents reading to children improves the quality of relationships, academic outcomes and resilience.’



About Siobhan Harmer

About Siobhan Harmer

Siobhan Harmer is an English Freelance writer who drinks far too much coffee!!

Website: Siobhan Harmer

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