Bradford dads - including a rugby league legend - are celebrating Father's Day by backing a children's literacy campaign.

Robbie Hunter-Paul, chief executive of Bradford Bulls, has joined fellow Bradford dads and other male role models in taking pictures of themselves reading to their children as part of a Bradford Literacy Campaign competition.

Dads who submitted a photo, along with the title of their favourite book to share with their children, were in with a chance to win book tokens and free books for their school or children's centre.

The National Literacy Trust’s recently published Children And Young People’s Reading In 2014 report found that just one-in-four children and young people surveyed agreed with the statement “my parents don’t care if I spend any time reading”.

This increased sharply among pupils who receive free school meals, with almost one third agreeing with the statement, compared to 23 per cent of pupils who do not receive free school meals.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

Robbie Hunter-Paul, who is pictured reading to his 14-month-old son Sebastian says: “My enjoyment of reading to my son is based on having the ability to connect with him and help him develop. My wife and I personally love to read and it is what you will find us doing every evening. We also have a real desire to embed our children with our passion for books.

"As the world becomes used to reading and thinking in short text messages or social media ‘post’ studies show we are shortening our attention span. Reading books is the one weapon we have to battle this trend because reading at length is ‘food for the brain’.

"Sebastian’s favourite book is The Very Busy Spider by Eric Carle‎. He likes the book because we make all of the noises the farm yard animals would make. He finds it funny when I moo, quack or oink as he turns each page”

The Bradford Literacy Campaign is part of the National Literacy Trust Hub in Bradford, working in partnership with Bradford Council and other local partners including Yorkshire Cricket Club, Bradford Museums & Galleries, Bradford Literature Festival and Walker Books to raise awareness of the importance of literacy skills and extend the reach of literacy support in the district.


One of the priorities of the initiative is to encourage dads to be more engaged in their child’s learning. Male role models from the community have been working closely with a group of fathers in sessions at children’s centres.

Dads from the group have said they are now much more involved in activities with their children such as washing the car, making home improvements and going on day trips together.

They have said that these experiences have meant they are now talking more with their children and that that the support has significantly changed their attitude to their role as parents. The dads involved have said they have seen a difference in their children’s confidence and language skills.

Imran Hafeez, manager of the National Literacy Trust Hub in Bradford has provided a picture of him reading with his three-month-old daughter, Kenzah and five-year-old son Sudais.

Imran said: “Taking time to share stories creates happy memories as it is a great way of spending quality time together.

"Reading is vital for raising a child’s literacy levels and improving their life chances. Dads can be good reading role models by sharing a variety of books, ebooks, newspapers, magazines, comics, websites and brochures with their children which are all great for getting kids to enjoy reading.

"One of my fondest memories of my father was of story time and his ability to tell great stories which filled me with excitement and adventure as a kid. One of our favourite books is Dogger – a heart-warming story of siblings looking after each other”

Tips on reading together and recommended books can be found on the Bradford Literacy Campaign website at

How are you celebrating Father's Day? Do you think it's important to read with your children? Tell us what you think by commenting below.