Summer is the time for dads and male carers to book into the new Fathers Reading Every Day (FRED) programmes which will be starting in the autumn. The free courses will be open to those living in one of the A Better Start Southend wards and it is a case of book early to avoid disappointment.

FRED ran for the first time from October 2016 and feedback from those who took part was positive, with children enjoying a wonderful experience being read to by their dads.

FRED is a really straightforward, yet enjoyable, month-long reading challenge that encourages dads to read regularly with their children at home, with the project proving especially successful with boys. Attainment data from schools that took part in FRED across the UK showed more boys taking part in FRED and making better progress than girls.

Children whose dads read to them from an early age, do better and FRED has been shown to have a huge impact on reading, writing and even maths. In fact, researchers found that children who took part in FRED were four times as likely as those who did not, to make greater-than-expected progress in reading.

In advance of the programme, the Fatherhood Institute, which runs FRED, will be training our new Parent Champions as well as Family Storehouse team in father-inclusive practice, ensuring that every offer for parents of 0-4 is accessible to dads and male carers, making sure they feel comfortable, welcome and included. These newly trained local experts will help to ensure that more dads get involved in our projects, meaning more children and families benefit from all that they can offer.

With our new focus on Diet and Nutrition, we are delighted to be able to hold some of these autumn/winter FRED sessions at Family Storehouse as well as at other locations in Southend. There will also be sessions specially for fathers on diet and nutrition and dads’ impact on these areas for their children.

Everyone who takes part in the courses will receive a copy of the new Read Said FRED anthology, with children’s stories for all ages from the likes of Julia Donaldson, Sir Tony Robinson, Giles Andreae, Peter Bently and Frank Lampard. And sign up early – the first ten dads to send an email and sign up will receive an advance copy of the anthology to read over the summer!

To find out more email cassiuscampbell@fatherhoodinstitute.org or Isobel.Wratislaw@pre-school.org.uk. People interested will also be able to sign up and get more information at the Forum Library in the centre of Southend too.

Click here for 10 tips on reading together. 

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