December 30th, 2010 | Posted in Thursday's Thoughts

Metropolitan Section of the New York Times – Sunday, December 26, 2010

“Daddy, Read for Me”

The article, ‘Daddy, Read for Me’,  describes a five-week literacy program  offered  for Rikers  prison  inmates  to bring books like  ‘The Little Engine That Could’ and ‘The Cat in the Hat’ to life by recording them for their sons and daughters they left behind.  At the end of the program, the children get to visit their fathers to hear the stories in person and receive the CD the men had recorded.

What is so powerful about hearing a parent read to you? The connection is the human connection through the voice. The parent is stimulating the child’s, attention, awareness, and imagination through listening. In the place of physically being present, the father’s voice can be the substitute.  For the father, he can feel he is offering a piece of himself, his presence in his child’s life, and he is communicating a story; a story about a train that strives  against difficult odds (The Little Engine That Could), a story of a naughty little monkey (Curious George), or a friendly big red dog (Clifford).  The child can listen over and over again providing that intimate connection with his father whenever needed.  I imagine this program offers tremendous comfort to the participating families.

For me this story reminds us that when we are present and available in our child’s life, reading together offers us comfort, fun and hope. So read, read, and read.  If we have limited time, choose books wisely, one 10 minute story brings a myriad of rewards…to parent and child.

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