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April 21, 2024

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Give Me 20 for Reading, Kids!

Three weeks or so until school starts! Get your kids into the rhythm of learning again by enforcing a little bit of reading time everyday.

Yes, it's amazing and wonderful NOT to have to oversee homework every night during summer — but are you at least making sure your kids are reading each day? No? Then sorry, but their summer reading slide is on you! Don't get me wrong, I'm all for lazy days of summer that wind into more days of lazy, but after awhile you'll find yourself frantic. Especially when another conscientious moms brings up the summer reading!    

Let's face it: reading is in jeopardy in homes across the country during summer months and even during the school year. Kids prefer watching Netflix and playing on iPads, Xboxes and iPhones to reading books. It's a sad state of affairs if you let it go on this way. But did you know that just six minutes a day can be enough to reduce reading stress levels by two-thirds? (U.K. Daily Telegraph).

Reading: Insist on a Daily 20!

Neuroscientist and author Sally Shaywitz says children should read 20 minutes a day (at least) to develop good reading comprehension and enjoyment for reading. Parents really DO need to bear down and insist that kids read at home, on vacation and while traveling. Give yourself and your kids quiet time each day that you set aside for 20 minutes of reading.  A few simple but meaningful steps can help you get your child reading more:

• Books, Magazines, Apps, whatever!: Get your kid's hands on anything and everything you can. When choosing what to read, be sure it's right — not too hard, not too easy.

• You read, too: If you read 20 minutes a day, then you can get the kids to read 20 minutes a day. But don't just say it. Sit down together in the A/C. Or on the back porch. Just do it. It doesn't matter what you read, read what you want to read. 

• Indulge Your Child's Interests: If your child doesn't know what to read, look at his interests and start feeding it. He will love that you take an interest in what he's into. If he love Star Wars, give him a Star Wars book that's on his level. Let him pick what he wants.

• Read Aloud: Experts say it's the number one thing parents can do to help improve their kids' reading aptitude. Take turns reading. Model what a good and fluent reader sounds like.

• One book at a time: Don't get all frantic and come home with an enormous pile of books and announce you're all going to read all summer long — what a turn off! Place fun books around, keep it friendly but insist on the daily 20.

About the Author

Susan Swindell Day, Editor

Susan Swindell Day is the editor in chief of Nashville Parent and the mom of four amazing kids.