20 Minutes of Reading Per Day Could Help You Scoop Up 1,000,000 New Words
Building up to 20 minutes of reading per day can seem like a very daunting task for some students! Ear reading is certainly a more accessible format for those with print disabilities, but even with audiobooks you must have a strategy in place to build up your reading stamina.
Why is this important?
The point of reading is to learn, but it also helps students continue to build vocabulary, which in turn aids comprehension, background knowledge, and overall academic success. At the recent Tennessee IDA (International Dyslexia Association) Conference, National Board Certified teacher Nancy Duggin presented a graph that showed data about what she calls “word poverty.” She says that a child who is read to for:
– 1 minute per day gains 8,000 words per year. That’s just with one minute per day!
– 5 minutes per day gains 282,000 words per year
– 20 minutes per day (which is Learning Ally’s Summer Reading Together Goal) gains 1,000,000 words per year! Wow!
Every single one of those new words is important. As an example, a fourth grader who isn’t exposed to as many books will understand the word “mad,” but may not know the words “exasperated” or “irate.” Exposing children to the rich language in literacy helps them gain deeper knowledge which will show up across all subject areas.
How do you get started?
Children who struggle with reading sometimes think they actually (gasp!) hate reading. In fact, some children who don’t struggle with reading will tell you they hate reading also! That can make getting started with reading, even ear reading, a challenge.
One piece of advice is to look at reading as learning. Instead of asking “what would you like to read about today?” ask “what do you want to learn more about today?” If their favorite topic is butterflies, look for a variety of fiction and non-fiction books on the topic.
- Help Students Plan: As a parent or teacher, we need to make sure to have a summer reading plan in place for our students. Guide children in this planning process. Spend some time helping him/her think of how s/he can get in 20 minutes of reading every day.
Pro tip: Some kids tell us they use ear reading as a way to make chore-time pass by quickly, as a nightly winding down activity, or they pull out their audiobooks during long road trips.
- Give Them Ownership: Many students are more invested when they are allowed to make goals themselves, and when they understand why reading is important. Our ultimate goal is to get to 20 minutes per day, however your child may want to start smaller, at 5 minutes, and build up to a goal of 20 minutes. Other ideas include trying different genres all summer, or even a challenge of finding a new reading nook every day. Allow them to get creative and have fun!
- Track Progress: Download our summer reading tracker so kids can see how they are progressing toward their goals. By joining Summer Reading Together, there is even an incentive of potential prizes!
- Balance Ear Reading and Eye Reading: It is so important for kids who have dyslexia or other print disabilities to be exposed to BOTH. How do you find time in the day? The answer to this greatly depends on many factors, including the severity of the dyslexia, the child’s grade level, and how far along your student is in reading intervention. In this blog, Orton-Gillingham tutor Nicole Vella explains how she recommends balancing the two.
Join us for Summer Reading Together! If your students are Learning Ally members through a school account, sign up for our program here. If you are a parent of a child with an individual account, sign up here. We’ll track our reading progress all summer, and have a chance to win prizes! It’s a fun way to encourage reading all summer long!
– Jules Johnson
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