Is Your Child Reading Every Day and How Much Should They Be Reading?

Daddy doing daily reading - behind

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Today you will find less and less teenagers who want to spend their leisure time with their head stuck in an interesting book. Because of so many distractions around them, it’s no coincidence that youngsters who enjoy reading while they get older are exactly the same children whose parents cultivated an appreciation of reading with them at a early age. Before considering just how much a youngster really should be reading, it is very important to fully grasp that reading is crucial for young children.

Reading helps a child develop numerous basic literacy skills. At a young age, it helps children identify letters and sounds, and eventually to put them together to make words. This, in turn, leads on to their vocabulary. The more a child reads, the quicker their vocabulary expands. They learn how to use their words and are encouraged to sound them out for themselves. Similarly, they are prompted to learn new words as they encounter words and phrases that they have not come across before. This, in turn, lets the child develop their reading comprehension. Reading comprehension is the ability to understand exactly what is being said. This is a vital skill when it comes to doing well in school and exams, and is something that many adults struggle with.

So with that in mind, how much should your child read every day? Let’s ignore the reading done during school, and focus on out of school reading. These days, parents are encouraged to follow a reading schedule based on school grade. You start with ten minutes reading in 1st grade, and you add ten minutes for every subsequent grade up to 6th grade. Following this example, a 4th grader would be asked to read for forty minutes every day.

To many parents, this sounds impractical. Getting a ten year old boy to read for forty minutes can be a challenge. However, when the approach is introduced gradually, the children will learn to enjoy reading time. The intent is to cultivate a love for reading in our children, not to make it one of a list of chores they must do. For this reason, it is encouraged that you start slowly. Many children don’t enjoy reading on their own at first, so have them read aloud to you. It doesn’t have to interrupt your day – it could be while you’re making the dinner or hanging up the washing. Perhaps you can take it in turns. You read a page, and your child reads a page. Once it becomes part of your routine, you’re on to a winner.

Finally, it should be noted that reading can be tiring. For children, it involves a lot of concentration, and if your child is reading something beyond his or her capabilities, they simply won’t get the benefit out of it. Try to turn off the television or other distractions when it’s reading time, and don’t use the timeframes above as absolutes.

They should be targets. If your child is getting tired or becoming frustrated, that’s fine. Put the book away. The aim of this is to get to a point where your child wants to read, and that will never happen if they feel forced. Try and show them that reading is fun. If all else fails, use their reading time as your own reading time! Sit beside them and read your own book while they read theirs. Children love imitating their parents – and a love of reading is no different.