Dads reading to kids improves language skills: study

Published: 17 January 2018 Image credit: Murdoch Children's Research Institute website


New Melbourne research has found that dads who read to their toddler-aged children have four-year-olds with better language and literacy skills.

The research from the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute has highlighted the impact that fathers have on early childhood development, finding that children’s language development increased as they grew older, if their father read to them when they were young children.  

The study analysed data from the ‘Let’s Read’ study, funded by the Australian Research Council and involving 405 two-parent families.

From the data, researchers concluded that children who were read to by their fathers at age two achieved better language development at age four.

Led by Dr Jon Quach, the study is one of the first to investigate long-term impacts of fathers reading to their children.

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

“The faster we can help children develop those skills — how well they understand someone and how well they express themselves — 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.”

These findings remained even when researchers took into account the reading practices of the mother, as well as other variables including parent income, employment and education levels.