Dads Make Stories Magic: BookTrust teams up with Farshore and HarperCollins to get dads reading

Published on: 13 June 2023

The campaign comes as research shows that only one in three children are read a story every day by their dads.

Dad Rob sitting in the library with his daughter on his lap sharing a book with her

BookTrust has teamed up with publishers Farshore and HarperCollins Children's Books along with famous faces like Joe Wicks, David Walliams, Alexander Armstrong, Sir Michael Morpurgo, Nick Butterworth and Emmanuel Asuquo to encourage dads to get reading.

The Dads Make Stories Magic campaign has been launched as new research found that only 29% of children are read to every day or nearly every day by their dads, despite this being one of the most effective ways of encouraging children's enjoyment of reading - proven to have a positive impact on their life chances.

Only one in four children and teenagers read for pleasure every day or nearly every day, so there's a huge opportunity for dads to have a positive impact by reading aloud with them more often.

The research shows that sharing stories with children is great for dads, too, with 76% who do it saying they find it rewarding and 74% saying it's an enjoyable experience for them and their children.

But the findings also show that many dads face barriers in reading aloud, as only 36% were read to when they were children and fewer than half of dads grew up with positive ideas about reading.

Dads were also twice as likely as mums to say they lack confidence in their own reading ability and in choosing books their children would like to read.

Dad Louie with a baby strapped to his chest reading a story next to two women at Wild in Cornwall, with two women - one of whom is wearing a Wild T-shirt

That's why, ahead of Father's Day this year, BookTrust and children's publishers Farshore and HarperCollins Children's Books have joined forces to encourage the nation's dads to pledge to read with their children more regularly for four weeks to reach the goal of a million minutes of story time shared across the UK.

Dads will be able to find top tips, reading recommendations and practical ideas of how to engage even the most reluctant of readers with books and stories, while the campaign's supporters will share their own experiences to inspire others to get involved.

Sir Michael Morpurgo OBE, President of BookTrust and former Children's Laureate, said: "My journey to becoming a story-maker began with my mother and grandmother reading to me and my brother in bed. For us, these nightly readings were acts of love. They lived all of it as they read, we lived all of it as we listened – we made the stories together.

"In sharing their own passion for stories with us, I learned early on how reading can be immersive, transporting, and sheer joy.

"I'm so pleased to support this campaign, to inspire and motivate anyone with a child in their lives to enjoy the powerful benefits of storytelling. We must all work together to enrich children's lives through encouraging a love of words and stories."

Librarian Paul lying on the floor of the library sharing an open book with a young child

Joe Wicks MBE, the 'Nation's PE Teacher', author of The Burpee Bears, and dad of three added, "This powerful new research from HarperCollins and BookTrust shows the magic that happens when we read to children – it really sets them up for life.

"I discovered the joy of books and stories later in life and love sharing it with my own kids.

"That's why I'm joining the Dads Make Stories Magic campaign to get us reading more often to our kids, and to reach the goal of a million minutes of storytime shared across the nation!"

Sharing books and stories has the potential to transform children's lives, positively affecting their life-chances, emotional wellbeing, creativity and attainment. 

And children love sharing books and stories with anyone – whether that's mums, dads, carers, grandparents, siblings or friends. The more reading role models they have - from different people reading with them or seeing other people reading around them - the more likely children are to become readers themselves. So it is not just dads who can join the pledge to reach a million of minutes of storytime: everyone is invited.

Diana Gerald, Chief Executive of BookTrust said: "Reading is something that can be done anywhere and brings children life-changing benefits that can give them the best start in life.

"There's no right or wrong way to read a book. You can look at the pictures, use silly voices or make up your own story. Children will love the closeness and bonding moments that come from sharing a book together so there's nothing to stop you from giving it a go.

"Join the Dads Make Stories Magic campaign and you'll be sharing magical storytime experiences and creating memories together with your children."

You can find out more about the campaign and pledge a contribution to the Million Minutes goal at

Download the full press release

Download the research briefing

Topics: Fathers, News

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