When nightly homework is already weighed down with math, social studies, spelling, and more, adding reading to the list might seem overwhelming. The benefits of reading every day, however, can have a positive impact on all areas of a student’s academic and life success.
Reading Just 10–20 Minutes Per Day
What’s great about daily reading is that it doesn’t take a huge time commitment to make a big impact. Just 10–20 minutes per day can really add up over the course of a school year and a school career!
- An extra 10 minutes, 4 times per week equals 1,440 minutes of extra reading throughout the school year.1
- 20 minutes of reading per day exposes readers to 1.8 million words per year.2
- Students, ages 6-11, who labeled themselves as “frequent readers” read 43.3 books per year.3
- High school students who completed an 18-week silent reading program showed an improvement of 1.9 grade levels.4
How can you encourage a love of reading and positively impact your students? Here are some ideas.
Ways To Excite a Reluctant Reader
As important as daily reading is, it can be hard for students who struggle in school. For them, the reading process is full of challenges and sadly a love for reading can fall to the wayside. Teachers and parents should always be on the lookout for ways to push reluctant readers to reach their daily reading goals.
Provide Books They Really Like
As part of Scholastic’s Kids and Family Reading Report: 5th Edition, kids aged 6-17 were asked what types of books they wanted to read. Here’s how they responded:
- 70%: books that make me laugh
- 54%: books that let me use my imagination
- 48%: books that tell a made-up story
Allowing students to choose books they enjoy can make a big difference. A whopping 73% said they would read more if they could find more books they liked.
If you have students who don’t have access to many books at home, there are ways you can help. Speak to the school librarian about allowing these students to check out an additional book or two each week. Let students choose a book from your classroom library that they can borrow for the weekend or over extended holidays. Implement a school-wide book swap where students can donate books they have outgrown to children in lower grades. Also keep tabs on your local libraries. Many hold annual book sales where used books are sold for as little as a dollar.
Whether it’s number of books or number of pages read, set up a reading challenge for your class. Nothing can motivate reluctant readers better than competition with a fun reward at the end.
Drop Everything And Read
What started as a simple idea in a beloved children’s book is now taking place in classrooms everywhere. In Ramona Quimby, Age 8, author Beverly Cleary introduced Drop Everything and Read (DEAR) which encourages students to make reading a priority with just 10 minutes of dedicated classroom reading time. Not only does this program support students who may not have a supportive reading environment outside of school hours, but it also allows you to be a reading role model in your classroom.
When you implement DEAR in your classroom, remember to keep it fresh by thinking beyond just your English or reading lessons. Keep your students on their toes by “dropping everything” at the end of a math lesson or other surprising times throughout the day.
With these tactics, even your most reluctant readers will soon fall in love with cracking open a book every day.
How are you encouraging your students to read 10–20 minutes every day?
1 “Adding Ten Minutes of Reading Time Drastically Changes Levels of Print Exposure,” Scientific Learning, March 2008
2 “Learning Words from Context,” Nagy, Herman and Anderson, 1987
3 “The Kids & Family Reading Report: Fifth Edition,” Scholastic, 2014
4 “Ten Minutes A Day for Silent Reading,” Steve Gardiner, Educational Leadership, October 2001