Fathers Incorporated’s Real Dads Read Program Evaluation is set to launch in December 2018
Atlanta, GA—It wasn’t too long ago that Fathers Incorporated launched its new initiative, Real Dads Read® (RDR), in Atlanta, GA. The initial project objective was to create literacy centers in barbershops with the goal of encouraging father-child involvement through reading. Today, RDR has established 71 libraries/learning centers in barbershops and schools around metro Atlanta and distributed more than 5000 books. Fathers play an important role in their child’s development, with research suggesting that fathering contributes uniquely to children’s language and literacy development. Supporting fathers in their role as a parent, particularly by encouraging them to engage in home literacy practices, such as shared book reading, likely has a direct impact on children’s language and literacy development.
Real Dads Read is aimed at elementary and middle school aged children (K-8) and their fathers/male caregivers with the goals of 1) encouraging children to develop a love of reading, 2) improving children’s literacy skills and educational outcomes, and 3) strengthening bonds between fathers/caregivers and their children. Real Dads Read is a two-generation approach to engaging and improving outcomes for both men and the children for which they are responsible. “Real Dads Read is an effective, scalable model for increasing literacy through partnerships, and a creative, community-based approach to strengthening bonds between fathers and children,” states Kweku Forstall, Director, Atlanta Civic Site, The Annie E. Casey Foundation.
“We are encouraged that so many organizations have come on board to celebrate and support the effort of Real Dads Read,” says Kenneth Braswell, Executive Director of Fathers Incorporated. “The inquiries to bring the project to other cities around the country are overwhelming. We have had to temper the excitement because we are still building our capacity to meet the tremendous need and requests for RDR locally,” Braswell continues, “Fathers Incorporated is now working with the Urban Child Study Center in the College of Education and Human Development at Georgia State University (see: http://urbanchildstudy.education.gsu.edu/) to evaluate program outcomes in Atlanta, which will help us build the RDR infrastructure to support broader and more intentional programmatic activities.”
The purpose of the RDR evaluation, funded by the Fatherhood Research and Practice Network, a federally- funded initiative co-directed by Jay Fagan of Temple University and Jessica Pearson of the Center for Policy Research, Denver, (see: http://www.frpn.org) is to examine the impact of the book-sharing program on the extent to which fathers engage in literacy practices with their young children and on fathers’ book sharing interactions with their children. The evaluation will also examine how barbershops can be used as a local resource to increase parental access to high quality children’s literature. Additionally, as a mixed methods investigation, this study will examine the conditions under which the RDR program is most successful. A total of 40 fathers will be recruited to participate and socio-linguistic methods and surveys will be used to examine fathers’ experiences within the Real Dad Reads framework. Recruitment will begin in December. Dr. Gary Eldon Bingham, Associate Professor at Georgia State University, is the Primary Investigator for the study.
According to Braswell, “This isn’t complicated; children do better on a host of measures, including reading, when fathers are actively involved in their care, so we simply want to document findings that show programmatic outcomes that encourage reading among dads and their children and continue to remind the public of the important roles fathers play in the lives of their children.”
Real Dads Read® has been generously supported by the Anne E. Casey Foundation, Literacy For All Fund, Walton Family Foundation, United Way of Greater Atlanta, Little Free Libraries, Hachette Publishing, Atlanta Cares and Furthering Fathering.
For tips on engaging fathers, barbershops, planning events and more information on Real Dads Read visit our website at www.realdadsread.org email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call our office at 770.804.9800.