Our family loves to read. That really shouldn't come as any great surprise given my hobby of reviewing books for Mind and Media. But we all love to read and have for quite some time. My wife got her degree in English and so she had to do a fair amount of reading. Actually, she had enough credit hours to have received two degrees in English she was so steeped in books in college. Though I had my fair share of books to read for my literature classes in college (and hated many of them) I still enjoy reading a great deal.
My wife and I both made a committment when our children were born to instill in our children a love for reading. We've been able to do this mostly because we both read to them. It's a precious time that we have as a family that they both truly enjoy and covet.
We started reading to them when they were just babies. Most of the time, I would read to them. As a father, I can't think of anything else that is more precious than to read to your children. My girls are constantly begging me to read more to them. I think they would rather do that than anything else.
Because we homeschool, we also have an opportunity to incorporate reading into our school activities. Usually my wife is reading a book with them during school time and I read a different book with them in the evenings.
Where do you begin? How do you find out what books are good books to read? It's difficult in this day and age to often find books that appropriate for kids even when they've theoretically been written for kids. A good resource we've discovered is Honey For A Child's Heart by Gladys Hunt. While we don't necessarily agree with all her recommendations, she does a good job of highlighting the best children's books available by age group and genre and provides a brief synopsis of each book that will help you decide whether it's a book your family would be interested in.
If you're ready to start reading aloud to your kids but don't know what to start with, let me recommend The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis. These timeless tales are ideal for reading aloud to your children. Your children are also likely to want to start reading the books on their own after you have finished reading them aloud (which my oldest daughter has decided to do on her own).
I've added to the sidebar "What We're Reading" that will let you know what I'm currently reading to my kids. My wife and I will also be compiling a list of books in the next few days that we've read aloud to our childrenthat we can recommend for family reading time.
Fathers, let me encourage you to put down your newspaper, turn off the television, put aside all the other things that distract you from time with your children and take the time to read aloud to them. A good book read by a father to his children is a truly precious gift and one that you will be glad you shared with your children. You will not only instill in them a love for reading good books but more importantly given them one of the most precious things that you have: your time and your attention.