Alta HS Program Encourages Male Figures in Kids’ Lives to Read to Them

The Supermen Read program was implemented in Alta Head Start classrooms during the months of April and May. The program is designed to encourage men in children’s lives to read to them — not just dads, but brothers, uncles, grandfathers and others.

The men were provided with a superhero cape and mask to use during their time in the classroom, as well as a book to read (or participants could bring their own favorite book).

We had 25 men who participated in our Supermen Read program, and they seemed to get as much out of the experience as the children! Here are some quotes from the participants:

  • “It was fun, and it’s definitely something great for the kids.” 
  • “I really enjoyed being able to read to my son’s class. It was a great experience being able to be a part of his learning experience without him knowing (he didn’t know it was me behind the mask!).” 
  • “Good experience. The kids are really receptive to it.”
  • “It was real rewarding having them pay attention to me.” 
  • “I really liked it. Reading to young minds, unlocks the gifts within.”
  • “I enjoyed reading to the children and spending time with my granddaughter at school.”

Numerous studies have shown what a huge difference reading to children can make in the development of young lives. In one study of 500 low-income fathers in the US, it was found that fathers reading frequently to their children at a young age had an impact on their language development one year later and their literacy development two years later. Surprisingly, mothers’ book reading did not have this same kind of significant impact on child development.

It turns out that fathers tend to use more abstract and complex language when sharing a book with their child. For example, they might often link events in the book to a child’s own experience. Many other studies have identified additional benefits to kids when important male figures in their lives read to them.

Alta Head Start thanks all of the men who made Supermen Read such a big success!