There is a fascinating graphic floating around the Internet that really puts the importance of nightly reading into perspective:
It explains that students who read for 20 minutes a day will come in contact with over 1,800,000 words by the end of the school year. A student who reads for 5 minutes a day will reach 282,00 words, and by reading for a minute a day, students will be exposed to 800 new words. The difference is staggering, and studies show that a strong and diverse vocabulary and efficient reading level makes learning different subjects much easier. Being confident in their reading ability and being exposed to different words will make reading math problems a breeze, and students can focus solely on the mathematical process and not be tied down by trying to understand that the problem is asking or struggling to read a word.
Everyone knows the old saying “practice makes perfect” and this applies to reading as well. When students spend time reading each night, they are constantly increasing their reading level, which will also boost their confidence. When they are called to read out loud in the classroom, they will be able to do so with self-confidence and pride. They will have multiple opportunities throughout the day to showcase their ever-improving reading ability and feel the sense of accomplishment as they tackle harder and harder content.
By reading 20 minutes a day, a student will have read the equivalent of 60 school days! Imagine what they could learn during this time. It is easy to find 20 minutes driving to and from practices, before bed or on the bus ride home. These 20 minutes will equip students with a stronger vocabulary and will allow them to be more successful in the classroom, whether its reading, math or science that they are working through. Reading builds listening skills, which will help the student stay focused and on task during a lesson in the classroom. Reading with your children also helps to build communication and relationships, and helps with their social skills.
It is truly doing your child a disservice to not encourage at least 20 minutes of reading daily. There are too many benefits they could miss out on if they don’t invest this time to lose themselves in a good book. Encouraging students to read will build a foundation that emphasizes the importance of reading and of education, and will build character in developing children.