A group of eight fathers with students at Cantu Elementary School recently completed a special program called Fathers Reading Every Day (FRED) that was developed by the Texas AgriLife Extension Service. The program is designed to encourage fathers, grandfathers, and other positive male role models to read to their children on a daily basis.

This was the first year Cantu Elementary School has participated in the program. School official said they plan to bring the program back next year due to the strong responses from the small group that completed the program.

Fathers read to their children a minimum of 15 minutes a day for the first two weeks and a minimum of 30 minutes a day for the last two weeks of the program. Fathers receive a participant packet that contains an introduction to the program, reading log, tips for reading aloud to their children, and lists of recommended books. At the end of the program, fathers total up the number of books read and the amount of time spend reading to their children. Louise Pontius, librarian at Cantu Elementary, said in most cases the fathers said they ended up extending the reading time.

According to Texas AgriLife Extension Service, FRED is designed to increase father involvement in children’s literacy development and to improve the quality of father-child relationships. The program is available in English and Spanish.

Research shows that children who are read to at least three times a week by a family member are almost twice a likely to score in the top 25 percent on tests of reading ability than children who are read to less frequently.