Need a New Year’s Resolution? READ to your child.

How about a resolution this year that will change your child’s life? Parents often ask, “How can I help my child become a better reader?”  The answer is two-fold and for this post I’ll address part 1, focusing on the word “reader.”

Answer: Your child must READ!

Set the expectation for your child that he/she will spend at least 20 minutes EACH night reading.  Period.  Read to your child, with your child, in front of your child, etc….

Kind of a no-brainer, right?  Read, so you can become a better reader.  However, schedules are jam-packed, even with good things.  It will take discipline to set aside and protect this time.  But there is just too much research and evidence to ignore the importance of reading daily, no matter the age of your child.

Here are just a few statistics:

  • Of the children who leave third grade reading below grade level, 74% never catch up.
  • Out of every 193 Americans that are in jail, 49% of them read at or below a 9th grade level.
  • Reading just makes “cents”: For every year that a person spends reading (either independently or being read aloud to), his/her lifetime earning potential goes up considerably. For a time investment of approximately 87 hours a year (20 minutes a day for 5 days a week), you can increase your child’s ability to support him or herself in the future considerably.

And it’s never too early to start.  Enjoy this poem from


Read to your children
Twenty minutes a day;
You have the time,
And so do they.

Read while the laundry is in the machine;
Read while dinner cooks;
Tuck a child in the crook of your arm
And reach for the library books.

Hide the remote,
Let the computer games cool,
For one day your child will be off to school;

Remedial? Gifted? You have the choice.
Let them hear their first tales,
In the sound of your voice.

Read in the morning,
Read over noon,
Read by the light of
Goodnight Moon.

Turn the pages together,
Sitting close as you’ll fit,
‘Till a small voice beside you says,
“Hey, don’t quit.”

Author Unknown

Here are a few more links that support starting this habit early to set the stage for future success.

Convinced yet?  “Yes, but how?” you might ask.

So you need help stealing 20 minutes from elsewhere in your schedule?  Here are some good ideas of time-wasters that can be turned into reading opportunities.

This article suggests ways to create a home atmosphere of reading that involves the whole family.

To those of you already doing this…BRAVO!  I’d love to hear your testimonies.  What does your child like to read?  How early did you start?  How do you fit it into your busy schedule?  What are your favorite books to read as an adult (modeling is important)?

My next post will address part 2 in answer to the question: “How can I help my child become a better reader?”   Once you’ve created an expectation for reading, you’re ready to help your child become BETTER at it.

4 responses to “Need a New Year’s Resolution? READ to your child.

  1. I think I read to Michael some when he was in my tummy but I doubt that did any good lol ;P. I read a lot of little books when Michael was a baby then moved to longer picture books and several years ago started reading chapter books. When I’m tired I get him to read to me instead 🙂 We’ve read a few classics too.

  2. That’s great, Amber. Good job and thanks for sharing!

  3. Pingback: New Year’s Resolutions… | knowonder!

  4. Pingback: New Year’s Resolutions… – knowonder!

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