adolescence (Photo credit: dongdawei)

Dads are important in teens’ lives, says a new study from Penn State University.  It makes sense. The teenage years are wrought with complexity and having a trusted adult – especially dad – to simply be there and spend time with has got to be good for kids.

Thanks to all you dads out there who do make time to be with your teenage kids and make a positive difference in their lives.

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Great quick post today from Scientific American recommending several family books to read together.

Take a look at the link and enjoy!

Here at Real Men Read with Kids, we encourage you to share your stories about reading with kids to inspire others to do so,too.

Today, Sgt. Charles Duerre’ the of LebanonOhio Police Dept shared this story…

 In my position as the day shift supervisor, I also serve in the role of school liaison officer. The counselor from our primary (grades 1 and 2) school contacted me to see if I would be interested in coming in once a week, in uniform and reading to the students. I agreed and am now in my second year of weekly readings. The positive impact that this has on the students is immeasurable. Many times when I am at the grocery, other stores or events in the community, the students will come up to me and say “I know you, you read to my class.”

I can easily say that this has become the highlight of my week and has quite possibly had more impact on me than on the students. They are definitely our most precious asset and we need to invest in their future, which in fact is really ours. I have been invited by the students to attend their “Young Authors” night and hear stories that they have written themselves and to be present in the classroom when they present written reports on topics they are currently learning about. The rapport that has been developed between us is nothing short of astounding.

The Sgt.’s story is an important reminder that adult men as reading role models can have a profound impact on kids. And, as he states, it goes both ways. Giving always tends to come back to us…

It was great that this counselor contacted Sgt. Lebanon. But you don’t have to wait for an invitation. Offer yourself as a reader to a class, a youth group, a kids’ club. Even just pick up a paper or a magazine or an iPad and read to your kids and grandkids. It’s that regular act of reading that makes you the role model that inspires a kid to become a reader, too.

Sgt., thank you for taking the time to share your wonderful story. Thanks for being the kind of hero they need. Keep up the great work!

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Guest post today from Sarah Morris… thanks, Sarah, for caring and posting!

Reading Together From an Early Age: The Key to Academic Success

 Submitted by Sarah Morris, on behalf of Primrose Schools. With a comprehensive preschool education, your child will reap the benefits!

Education experts have long known that children who are active independent readers are more likely to achieve academic success. Most parents are interested in nurturing a love of reading in their children, and the truth is that it’s never too early to begin. Even before they are born children recognize and respond to the voices of their parents. While reading “Goodnight, Moon” to your belly may feel silly at first, it actually has a calming, beneficial effect on both mother and child and can help form the habit of daily reading.
Once your child arrives, make sure to share books with her from the beginning. Reading with your child is the single best way to teach them to love books. Choose simple books with bright, high-contrast illustrations and few words for very young children. Point out the pictures and colors while the baby is more active. Use a soothing voice to read classic storybooks with beautiful illustrations in the evening as he is falling asleep. As your child grows so will his or her taste in books. Infants enjoy touch-and-feel books with textures. Toddlers love rhyming or singing books, counting books and books with hidden pictures or flaps to lift.

Be prepared to read the same book over and over. Children quickly become attached to certain stories and want to hear them time and again. Don’t just drone through the story – be an entertainer! Silly voices, exaggerated looks of surprise, laughter and questions are all big hits with children – no matter how often they’ve heard them. Don’t be surprised if your children want to continue reading their favorites long past the time you would have thought they’d outgrown them. As long as they are reading other, age-appropriate stories, it’s just a sign of devotion.

Try these tips to encourage your children to develop a lifelong love of reading:

· Keep books in the house. A shelf full of books sends a strong message to emerging readers. Even very young children enjoy paging through the pictures in art or nature books.
· Supply your children with age-appropriate reading materials and let them choose which stories they would like to read.
· Read to your child every day. Studies have shown that even 20 minutes daily has a more beneficial effect than attempting to “bank” minutes and read for a longer period once a week.
· Don’t just read books. Read street signs, storefronts and billboards while in the car; read labels, boxes and produce bins at the grocery store. It’s important for children to understand that reading doesn’t just come in books.
· Take your child to the library. The library is free and best of all – it’s filled with people who love books. Most libraries host story hours or family fun days. Even infants are welcome.
· If your child expresses an interest in something they have learned in school, take them to the library or a local bookstore so they can find out more. It’s important to encourage independent learning.
· Keep books in your bag or in the car for long trips or unexpected delays. Stash a few books in every room of the house for spur-of-the-moment story times.

There’s one more thing you can do to encourage a love of reading in your children. Pick up a good book! Research has shown that the children of readers are more likely to become readers themselves. Let your children see you reading and when they ask what your book is about, put it down and tell them.

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Real Men Read with Kids is all about helping kids learn to love to read. Here’s a great way to help kids in Kenya nd in Harlem love to read…consider joining this summer book drive.

This Summer, LitWorld is bringing the power of story to hundreds of young people from Kenya to Harlem, and we need your help! LitWorld is calling out to the community to help by donating books and school supplies as they embark on two important summer missions:


On July 8, 2011, members of the LitWorld team are headed to Kenya to visit our partners at the Children of Kibera Foundation. LitWorld works very closely with the Children of Kibera Foundation’s Red Rose School, where we run programs such as the Girls Clubs for Literacy Project. The Red Rose School is a beacon of hope for the children of Kibera, and is a positive learning environment providing education for children who are HIV/AIDS orphans.


Starting this summer, LitWorld will set up the Story Power Camp project, a summer reading enrichment program for the youth of the Children’s Village, Polo Grounds Community Center. The Story Power Camp aims to engage young people in reading and writing through fun, interactive activities, while encouraging each participant to boldly share their personal stories. The Children’s Village works in partnership with families to help society’s most vulnerable children so that they become educationally proficient, economically productive and socially responsible members of their communities.

To contribute, view their wishlist via Amazon here (donations are being accepted until 6/30/2011)

James Preller over at Father’s Read alerted me to this program…

Over in Texas, the Extension Service has started a really cool program called FRED – Fathers Reading Every Day! This is a great program where dads can participate by reading and recording the time read with kids. Over 6,000 dads have participated so far.

Are there other programs like this in your state?

If so, tell us more!


Posted: March 6, 2011 in Uncategorized
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James Preller over at the Father’s Read blog has got a great idea… what can we do to get boys to read? Get fathers to read to kids! I’ve been busy with a new job, family matters, and other projects lately, so I appreciated very much James’ link to our Real Men Read with Kids blog to help jump start me again here…. let’s keep the momentum going. The boys in our world still need us – still need men, especially – to be the role models for reading and learning and growing into smart, capable men.

Take a look at his blog and contribute what you can… we’ll keep in touch and maybe the synergy of our blogs can get more boys (and girls) to be readers!

Christmas Tree Closeup 3photo © 2009 Zechariah Judy | more info (via: Wylio)

This holiday make your gift-giving count for your young readers. Give them gifts that will encourage them to want to read…here are twelve suggestions for starters:

  1. A Basketful of Books – it’s a no-brainer! The more books and other reading material there is in the home, the more likely a child is to read, and, therefore, the better readers they will become. Better yet, bundle them with themed items, for example, if your reader likes basketball, bundle a basketball with a biography of his/her favorite hoops player or Charles Smith’s book of basketball poetry called Hoop Kings.
  2. A home-made coupon book full of promises like “30 minutes of reading time with mommy” and  “Book and Buddy time with dad”. They’ll love you for the time you spend with them.
  3. A really cool comfy chair or pillows to curl up on while they read.
  4. A subscription to a magazine of interest to your child. Magazines are good entry points for lots of reluctant readers, so choose one that is age-appropriate and of high-interest!
  5. A good book light (like the Itty Bitty Book light) that allows him or her to snuggle under the covers and read after bedtime!
  6. For your teen – an “I Read Banned Books” bracelet bundled with one of the great banned books like Chris Crutcher’s Athletic Shorts or Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird.
  7. Show them some cool reading websites like or where they can join a discussion group and get recommendations of good books.
  8. If you think they are ready, how about an e-book reader like the Kindle, BeBook, or the Barnes & Noble Nook. Here’s a list of reviews for the top 10 e-book readers.
  9. Nothing better than a gift that keeps on giving…A subscription for a monthly delivery of books right to the mailbox like GiftLit. A friend of ours started this for my son when he was born and kept it up till he was 10 years old. I credit her with helping him get a great start on reading!
  10. Comic books – for those especially reluctant readers. Visual stories are engaging and perfect entry points to the world of reading.
  11. If you can are willing to put out a few extra bucks, kids love interactive books like those found with the Leap Frog Tag system, which won Toy of the Year for 2009!
  12. And to encourage them to visit the library often to find new and exciting books, how about a The Library is Cool” book bag for hauling their books back and forth.

What are your favorite gifts for readers?

Cross-posted on Four Circles Learning blog.

Sometimes kids, especially boys, just need a little nudge or a challenge to get them to read.  If you have a boy who might like the chance to earn a $100 gift certificate “good for any product in the Boy Scouts official retail catalog”, then here’s a contest for him. He just needs to write a one-page report titled “The Best Book I Read This Year” and submit it to:

Boys’ Life Reading Contest
P.O. Box 152079
Irving, TX 75015-2079

Deadline is Dec. 31st. Get more details here.