A Better Start Southend
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Fathers Reading Every Day (FRED)

Run by the Fatherhood Institute, FRED was a really straightforward, yet enjoyable, month-long reading challenge that encouraged dads to read regularly with their children at home, with the project proving especially successful with boys.

By encouraging them to read together every day for a month, FRED was long enough to get the reading habit established so it becomes part of their regular routine. Dads who read to their children regularly have big impacts on their children’s learning and for the fathers who take part in FRED, the benefits of reading with their children are a revelation. Children whose dads read to them from an early age, do better and FRED has also been shown to have a huge impact on reading, writing and even maths.

FRED was about reading for pleasure so dads can read anything, it might be a newspaper, a chapter book or a car manual, it doesn’t matter. What does matter is that it’s fun and gives dads and children time to bond.

In the FRED programme, fathers spent:

  • 15 minutes a day for two weeks, reading with their children
  • then 30 minutes a day for a second two weeks

Dads with younger children could spend smaller amounts of time reading to them.

Each father documented the amount of time spent reading to their children and the number of books read. At the end the family learning setting held an event to celebrate all the great work the dads and children had been doing.

The project was about encouraging dads to play a full part in their children’s lives so that children and the wider family benefit, and FRED was working to ensure services in Southend are inclusive of fathers from the outset, giving dads all the support they need to be part of their children’s lives.

For further information about FRED please contact Cassius Campbell at the Fatherhood Institute on 07956 090302 or email