A father’s impact on a child’s life and the library

Written by Michael Eaton, Community Librarian

In recent years, there has been research done about the positive impact fathers’ involvement has on their children, especially in literacy activities. Some of these include:

  • Increased ability and interest in reading amongst children
  • Increased attentiveness in the classroom
  • Better developed problem-solving skills
  • Greater resilience to stressful situations

Over the years, EPL has transformed to become a welcoming place for all. “While our programs are well attended and highly rated, we have significantly fewer dads bringing their children to programs than moms.  We want dads to feel welcome in our spaces and comfortable actively participating in our programs.  For this reason, we are trying out a new program specifically for dads at the Lois Hole Branch,” said Elaine Jones, EPL Youth Services Manager.

Daddy Boot Camp is hosted by 100.3 FM The Bear’s Yukon Jack along with EPL library staff. The program kicked off last spring. It is designed as a safe and fun environment for dads to bring their kids where they can learn about:

  • Reading – through literacy-focused apps, eBooks and reading lyrics of songs while singing karaoke
  • Storytelling – though watching and doing puppet shows
  • Craft-making – by doing pool noodle Star Wars light sabers and other crafts
  • Music & singing – through live karaoke
  • Getting silly  – by sharing quality time together with the little ones

EPL is developing activities that tap into the fathers’ interests and hobbies. Through these activities, dads are able to overcome feelings of awkwardness and actively engage with their children in a public setting.

We are creating opportunities that build upon the literacy activities most fathers are already doing with their children. “By offering this program, we hope to create a ‘special event’ for fathers and their children, in which their time reading, playing and creating together at the library helps to strengthen the natural bond that already exists between them.” said Sean Chinery, Library Operations Specialist.

And by the looks of this video, lasting memories are already being made as Yukon Jack explains: “If I had doubted how effective this program was, I was reminded plenty of times over the spring when my son kept asking me about Daddy Boot Camp. My goal was to create memories between kids and dads and in the process we made many of our own.”

Works Cited
Clark, C. (June 2009). Why fathers matter to their children’s literacy. National Literacy Trust, June 2009. Retrieved from https://literacytrust.org.uk/research-services/research-reports/why-fathers-matter-their-childrens-literacy-2009-review/
Elish-Piper, L. (2014). Parent involvement in reading. Illinois Council Reading Journal, 42(2). 56-59. Morgan, A., Nutbrown, C., & Hannon, P. (April, 2009).
Fathers’ involvement in young childrens’ literacy development: Implications for family literacy programmes. British Educational Research Journal, 35(2). 167-185.