29 Mar

Imagine if every student read for at least twenty minutes every night…

(The following was found at: http://www.tooter4kids.com/classroom/why_read_for_20_minutes_every_da.htm)


Student A reads 20 minutes five nights of every week

Student B reads only 4 minutes a night…or not at all!

Step 1: Multiply minutes a night x 5 times each week.

Student A reads 20 min. x 5 times a week = 100 mins./week.

Student B reads 4 minutes x 5 times a week = 20 minutes


Step 2: Multiply minutes a week x 4 weeks each month.

Student A reads 400 minutes a month.

Student B reads 80 minutes a month.

Step 3: Multiply minutes a month x 9 months/school year

Student A reads 3600 min. in a school year.

Student B reads 720 min. in a school year.

Student A practices reading the equivalent of ten whole school days a year.

Student B gets the equivalent of only two school days of reading practice.

By the end of 6th grade if Student A and Student B maintain
 these same reading habits,

Student A will have read the equivalent of 60 whole school days

Student B will have read the equivalent of only 12 school days.

One would expect the gap of information retained will have widened considerably and so, undoubtedly, will school performance.

How do you think Student B will feel about him/herself as a student?

Some questions to ponder:

Which student would you expect to read better?

Which student would you expect to know more?

Which student would you expect to write better?

Which student would you expect to have a better vocabulary?

Which student would you expect to be more successful in school….and in life?


*If daily reading begins in infancy, by the time the child is five years old, he or she has been fed roughly 900 hours of brain food!

*Reduce that experience to just 30 minutes a week, and the child’s hungry mind lose 770 hours of nursery rhymes, fairy tales, and stories.

*A kindergarten student who has not been read aloud to could enter school with less than 60 hours of literacy nutrition. No teacher, no matter how talented, can make up for those lost hours of mental nourishment.

*Therefore…30 minutes daily = 900 hours

30 minutes weekly = 130 hours

Less than 30 minutes weekly = 60 hours

Guess you now understand why reading daily is so very important.  Why not have family night reading?  It is great to just shut off the television for 20-30 minutes and read… and share.

(Source: U.S. Dept. of Education, America Reads Challenge. (1999) “Start Early, Finish Strong: How to Help Every Child Become a Reader.” Washington, D.C.)

Our school has a reading program called Reading is Simply Essential, or R.I.S.E.  Students are allowed to choose any book and they have to read for a certain amount of time every night depending on grade level.  Then, they log what they read on the monthly R.I.S.E. log sheet:

RISE Log Sheet

Students log the title, minutes read, and genre.  Parents then initial to add accountability.  At the end of every quarter, students who have logged at least forty-five reading periods with initials get to go to the R.I.S.E. celebration.  This could be a movie, water play day, or a school dance.

While I haven’t quite taken a solid stance on the homework debate, I do completely agree with daily reading.  Based on the teacher survey a couple posts ago, I heard some interesting thoughts from current classroom teachers.

Heather said: “Our school requires that our kids read at least 20 minutes each night. I try not to give much more than that. As a parent, I really appreciate when my kids do not have an excessive amount.”

I think this is awesome!  Students still know they have responsibility every night.  Parents can still read with their child which helps in two ways: 1) They get to spend quality time together reading a book that they enjoy and 2) Parents are made aware of the level on which their child is reading and comprehending.  This is all accomplished in just twenty minutes which leaves plenty of time for other evening routines.

Lauren said: “My high school also does Accelerated Reader where students have to read books and take quizzes to get points. So I typically assign them to read their AR books for 30 minutes and write a summary about what they read. That let’s me know what’s “cool” and popular with the students too!”

I would be interested in finding out what types of programs are available for elementary school students.  I think this is a great idea in that students practice summarization as well.  Our school uses a program called KidBiz which the students love.  They get to chose articles, read them, and then answer comprehension questions.  The problem with this is that most of my students do not have internet access at home.

Regardless of what I determine regarding homework amounts, I definitely believe that students HAVE to read on a daily basis in order to succeed in their education!


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