Dad's reading is new chapter of child language development

The latest research from the Murdoch Children's Research Institute has opened the book on how children's improvement in language is influenced by the involvement of their dad.

Researchers found that when fathers read to their children at home, the child's language development increased as they grew older.

In a study using data from the Let's Read study that was funded by the Australian Research Council involving 405 two-parent families, fathers who read to their children at age two predicted better language development at age four.

Despite the recognised importance of the home environment in promoting child development, there has been very limited longitudinal research that has examined the role of fathers in promoting language and literacy development.

Also, these findings remained even after taking into consideration parent income, employment and education levels, as well as the mother's reading practices.

Lead author Dr Jon Quach said the research filled the blank pages on the role of fathers in supporting the language development of children.

"Maternal shared reading practices do predict literacy, but fathers' contributions were previously less certain," he said. "The findings also further support the importance of reading to children from an early age, by all adults in the child's life."

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