Peterborough Phantoms' defence man, Jason Buckman and head coach, Slava Koulikov are calling on families to enter a competition by sending photographs or ‘selfies’ of dads reading to their children. The pictures will be published in an online gallery on the Peterborough Telegraph’s website on Father’s Day, Sunday 21 June. Dads who submit a photo, along with the title of their favourite book to share with their children, could win book tokens.
Parental engagement in a child’s literacy development is a key contributor to their success. But worryingly, the National Literacy Trust’s recently published Children and Young People’s Reading in 2014 report found that just one in four (24.3%) of the children and young people surveyed agreed with the statement “my parents don’t care if I spend any time reading”. This increases sharply among pupils who receive free school meals, with almost one third (31.5%) agreeing with the statement, compared to 23% of pupils who do not receive free school meals.
Jason Buckman, who was pictured reading with his daughter, Gracie, aged 8, said:
“Reading books with Gracie and seeing her progress with her reading ability and understanding of words is really enjoyable. It brings a smile to my face knowing the books we read have important messages in them like sharing, caring and making new friends.
"One of my favourite books I've read to Gracie is 'Charlie & Lola - I will not ever never, eat a tomato'. I like that it’s about a brother and sister caring for each other and also about healthy eating."
Slava Koulikov, who was photographed reading to his daughter, Danica, aged 6, said:
"Story time in our house is the time Danica and I get to spend some time together. Depending on the story this can be fun and giggles or cuddle time."
Sally Atkinson, Manager of the National Literacy Trust Hub in Peterborough said:
“It’s important for dads to encourage their children to read and not just leave it up to the mums. Dads can be good reading role models by sharing a variety of reading materials with their children, including books, ebooks, newspapers, magazines, comics, websites and brochures which are all great for getting kids hooked on reading – so important for improving their life chances.”
Kevin Tighe, Chief Executive of Vivacity which runs the city’s library, culture and sports services, has written a blog in support of the campaign. He wrote about his love of reading and how sharing books together is an integral part of the bedtime routine at home with his young children.