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How Often Should my Child Read?

Parents can encourage a love of books by reading to their children.
As soon as a child is able to turn the pages of a picture book, he or she can begin to learn to enjoy books.
Some parents might have to limit the reading time of a bookworm.
Chldren should be encouraged to read every day.
Children to be encouraged to read whatever they find interesting.
Grandparents often enjoy spending time with their grandkids for storytime.
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  • Written By: A Kaminsky
  • Edited By: Niki Foster
  • Last Modified Date: 23 September 2014
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A child who reads is a child who usually does well in school, is a good speller, has higher critical thinking skills, and has a greater pool of general knowledge. Children should be encouraged to read every day, and as soon as they can turn the pages of a picture book, they should be taught to love and respect their books. Parents should make themselves read more, as well, if they want their children to follow this example, since children often imitate their parents. A love of reading can also be encouraged when parents read to their children, and storytime can be one of the best times of the day.

Ideally, children should be encouraged to read whatever they find interesting — within the bounds of decency, of course — even if it looks "too difficult." Six-year-olds may not understand much about the encyclopedia, but should be encouraged to pick up a volume whenever they feel the urge.

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A good rule is to get a child between the ages of five and seven to read for 30 minutes each day. The time can be increased as the child gets older. A parent may have to start with ten minutes and work up to 30, but that is acceptable. Some parents may actually have to limit their child’s reading time if they have a bookworm on their hands. Some children give themselves headaches, and parents need to limit book time to no more than an hour or two each day if this happens.

In general, however, allowing a child to spend as much as he or she wants with a book is a good thing. A child who reads, and who challenges himself with advanced material, will almost always do well in school. Parents should provide all kinds of books, as well as children’s magazines. The child should also have his or her own library card, and trips to the library should be a regular event.

When a child learns to read, a new world opens for her. She can go anywhere, be anyone or do anything. With the huge dividends this form of learning pays, a child should be encouraged to do it as often as possible.

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Discuss this Article

JimmyT
Post 9

I completely agree that children should be encouraged to read as much as possible. There are the obvious reasons for reading such as increased speed, vocabulary, and spelling ability, but I think reading does a lot more.

I think the biggest non-measurable benefit to reading is that is opens up someone's experiences. Luckily, I have a lot of interests, so I read everything from classical literature to history to my personal favorite, autobiographies.

I have learned a ton of facts and read some great stories, but I have also learned a lot more about the human experience. Reading books I think should make you ask questions about why things are the way they are and how your life relates to what you read.

kentuckycat
Post 8
@cardsfan27 - That brings up a really good point: if you get your kids to find books they can talk about with other people it will just encourage them more.

When my kids started to read I kept hearing the normal complaints that the books were boring and that they didn't like being forced to read in school. Part of the problem was that books in schools now have reading levels attached to them and students aren't allowed to go above or below a certain level. Some of the books that my kids thought would be interesting were too high for them, though.

I eventually talked to the teacher, and she agreed that they could try to take on some of the harder books. It worked great. First, they were glad to be reading the books because they felt smarter. Second, since the books were quite a bit more difficult, they spent a lot of time asking me for definitions or looking them up on their own.

cardsfan27
Post 7

@indigomoth - I completely agree. Television doesn't really leave many openings for discussion. I remember when I got into high school and started reading higher level books that my grandma and I both happened to start reading the same book at about the same time. Once we figured out we were both reading the same book, we spent a lot of time talking about it and trying to guess how it would end.

The neat thing is that we both have different interests as far as our normal reading goes, but that book appealed to both of us. After that time, we started finding a book every couple of months to read and talk about. My parents even ended up getting in on the action after a while. If it wasn't for those books, I probably wouldn't have read half of what I did in that time span.

TreeMan
Post 6

@lluviaporors - Wow, I have never heard that. I wonder if that is what happened to me! I used to read all the time when I was younger in grade school and junior high. Once I got to 8th grade, I had to get glasses. It's hard to tell what might have caused it, though. Everyone in my family wears glasses, but everyone reads a lot, too. Who knows?

I do agree with the article that parents should encourage their kids to read every day. Once I got to high school, I stopped reading as much, because I had homework and extracurricular activities that took up my free time. Once I got into college, a friend suggested a really good book to me, and it sparked my interest in reading again. Since then, I've been reading about a book every week for the last 3 years or so.

SarahGen
Post 5

@MikeMason-- Does your daughter like TV?

One thing you can do is put on the subtitles and have her read those as she watches movies or cartoons. That has helped my son a lot.

There are also reading games sold in stores or online. Those are fun for children and she won't feel like she's being punished for not liking to read. These are interactive games and usually parents can play too. I think it will help your daughter like reading more.

I don't know if the reading program you signed up for will have similar games or not. But I think it might be beneficial.

stoneMason
Post 4

@anamur-- Not my daughter, she hates reading! So unfortunately, I do literally have to force her to read. She's starting school this year and she's already behind her age group.

I've actually signed up for a reading program for her this summer to try to get her up to speed with her reading. She's going to have to read one to two hours every day. I wish she liked reading and did it on her own. But she doesn't so I do have to push her a little bit.

serenesurface
Post 3
I have my son read one story book every day. I'm not sure how many minutes that is, but it's about fifteen to twenty minutes. If he's not feeling sleepy, we usually read a second book.

I don't think that reading should be a rigid practice at home. My son will read small things throughout the day when he gets hold of a newspaper or the cereal box. He actually does a lot of reading at the grocery store when he reads the labels of products for me.

So I do agree that children should read every day. But it doesn't have to be enforced by the parents rigidly. Children usually do it on their own.

indigomoth
Post 2

My nephew adores reading, not just because he likes the stories, but because it gives us an excuse to talk together on the same wavelength. Watching TV is really passive and playing outside I can't really keep up with him. But, when we both get into a story, we can really connect and have a good time, and I also feel like he is learning something. I hope we keep reading as he gets older. I can't wait until he starts wanting to read books like Harry Potter.

lluviaporos
Post 1

If you do have a bookworm on your hands, you should encourage him or her to look into the distance every so often and to go outside when they can (even if they just read outside). Peering at a closely held book may encourage the eyes to develop shortsightedness. Some people say it's from not being exposed to enough sunlight.

Even if reading doesn't cause shortsightedness, it can cause eye strain and occasionally getting up and having a small walk can be good for book obsessed children.

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