How to Change your Child's Life in only 20 Minutes Each Day
Let's Read Together
Early exposure to literature is extremely beneficial to children and can be vital to their future education. Reading books aloud to your child, narrating activities as you perform them, reading words, spelling together, etc. are all great ways to help your child become more familiar with reading.
“Early exposure to language is the greatest factor in language development and learning to read. By reading together every day, you stimulate and strengthen your child's language and literacy skills. It is that simple. By reading and talking with your child each day, you bond with them and model the love of reading, which will benefit them in school and throughout life.” (South Sound Reading)
The Early Bird Gets the Worm
Reading to your child consistently is just as important as gaining an early start, scientists say that the earlier you begin, the better.
“Neuroscience provides compelling evidence that 85 - 90 percent of brain growth occurs in the first five years of life.”
If you are reading to your child for a minimum of 20 minutes daily, you are helping your child build a strong reading/wording foundation as well as form connections in the brain that last a lifetime. Daily reading promotes cognitive, lingual, social, and emotional development that will continue to affect your student into adulthood.
Encouraging literacy in your child enhances their chance of obtaining meaningful employment, lessens their chances of addiction, promotes better physical and mental health, and lowers their risk of criminal activity as they grow. Overall, reading to your children provides a plethora of positive benefits that follow them into adulthood.
“Reading ability is predictive of the likelihood of unemployment, type of occupation, and salary level (Caspi et al., 1998; Bynner and Parsons, 2006; McIntosh and Vignoles, 2001).”
People that have lower literacy levels, due to many reasons as in their childhood environment or poverty, will affect their future careers. Applicants who have higher literacy rates are more likely to retain more stable, higher paying jobs that they report to be meaningful and positive additions to their lives.
Lower literacy skills can affect an adult’s health in many ways, but they are often less likely to be able to read about and have knowledge of health services.
“Patients with low reading ability are less likely to understand common health terms, and are therefore less able to recognise their symptoms, understand their condition and manage their medication and treatment (Williams et al, 1998; Gazmarian et al., 2003; Kriplani et al., 2006).
This affects not only a person's physical, but also mental health. One of the most important components in healthy living is prevention, which becomes increasingly challenging for those who cannot read. Poor reading skills also directly affects different aspects of psychological well being such as self concept, depression, anxiety levels, etc.
“Poor reading ability has also been linked to poor emotional wellbeing and poor self-concept. Poor readers at age 11 are found to have less self-belief regarding their ability to succeed at a task, are more likely to give up and show little resilience following failure (Butkowsky and Willows, 1980). Casey et al. (1992) found that children with a delay in reading age of 9 months were more anxious, less happy and were rated as less competent academically by their parents, regardless of their socioeconomic backgrounds and their parents’ level of education.
People with lower reading skills are also more likely to be at risk for criminal activity throughout youth and adulthood, leading to possible legal charges, imprisonment, and higher rates of recidivism (reoffending).
“The existing literature identifies a strong relationship between reading ability and crime. The prison population has a disproportionately low reading ability, literacy ability is also linked to rates of reoffending. Therefore, literacy interventions with prison populations have been investigated as a potential way to reduce crime (Putnins, 1999; Drakeford, 2002).”
Children who are illiterate, or less literate than their peers, may experience problems with self confidence and emotional wellbeing (as mentioned above). These negative feelings are prime risk factors for anti-social behavior that leads to illegal activity.
The Bottom Line
“It may feel hard to find 20 minutes each day to read with your child, but the cost of not doing this is far too great. Children who read for just 20 minutes per day see 1.8 million words each year and have scores on standardized tests in the 90th percentile (because they have experienced so many words!).” (Learning Links)
There are many ways to encourage your children to read at home such as modeling fluent reading, allowing your child to read a variety of books on their interest levels, restricting electronic times, or visiting local libraries or thrift stores (like the one at Helping Hands Youth Center) to purchase books. The more a child reads, the more fluent they become and they display positive reading techniques to benefit them the most, as well as creating healthy routines that will follow them for a lifetime.
Mulcahy, E., Bernardes, E., & Baars, D. S. (n.d.). The Relationship Between Reading Age, Education and Life Outcomes - cfey. Retrieved December 9, 2022, from https://www.cfey.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/The-relationship-between-reading-age-education-and-life-outcomes.pdf
Caspi, A., Wright, B.R.E., Moffitt, T.E. and Silva, P.A., 1998. Early failure in the labor market: Childhood and adolescent predictors of unemployment in the transition to adulthood. American Sociological Review, pp.424-451
Bynner, J. and Parsons, S., 2006. New Light on Literacy and Numeracy. London:NRDC.
McIntosh, S. and Vignoles, A., 2001. Micro-analysis of the Effects of Literacy and Numeracy. Improving Adult Basic Skills: Benefits to the Individual and Society. Department for Education and Employment.
Williams, M.V., Baker, D.W., Parker, R.M. and Nurss, J.R., 1998. Relationship of functional health literacy to patients' knowledge of their chronic disease: a study of patients with hypertension and diabetes. Archives of internal medicine, 158(2), pp.166-172.
Gazmararian, J.A., Williams, M.V., Peel, J. and Baker, D.W., 2003. Health literacy and knowledge of chronic disease. Patient education and counseling,51(3), pp.267- 275.
Kripalani, S., Henderson, L.E., Chiu, E.Y., Robertson, R., Kolm, P. and Jacobson, T.A., 2006. Predictors of Medication Self‐management Skill in a Low‐literacy Population. Journal of General Internal Medicine, 21(8), pp.852-856.
Butkowsky, I.S. and Willows, D.M., 1980. Cognitivemotivational characteristics of children varying in reading ability: Evidence for learned helplessness in poor readers. Journal of Educational Psychology, 72(3), p.408.
Putnins, A.L., 1999. Literacy, numeracy and non-verbal reasoning skills of South Australian young offenders. Australian Journal of Education, 43(2), pp.157-171.
Drakeford, W., 2002. The impact of an intensive program to increase the literacy skills of youth confined to juvenile corrections. Journal of Correctional Education, pp.139-144.
Putnins, A.L., 1999. Literacy, Numeracy and Non-Verbal Reasoning Skills of South Australian Young Offenders. Australian Journal of Education, 43(2), pp.157-171.