“Students who read an average of 20 minutes a day score better than 90% of all students on reading and writing tests.”

Last week we started to look at how as parents and as a school we have become responsible for teaching our students to live during a time in history which is being called “the age of distraction.” An example of this distracted world is the ability now to buy accessories such as rings and bracelets that light up and notify you when you have a text, email, post, etc. Talk about being easily distracted.

So what can we do to help our kids learn how to focus and concentrate in a distracted world? Believe it or not one of the best strategies is found in the power of a book. Having your children read throughout their formative years and develop the love and habit of reading is a key indicator of success later in life.

Reading actually changes the brain itself and develops in the reader the ability for focus and concentration. As a student reads it increases his or her knowledge of the world, improves writing skills, develops stronger critical thinking skills, increases focus and concentration, and strengthens memory. Wow, all that happens when you tell your child to read a book. Having your children read, or having you read to them, for 20 minutes a day exposes them to 1.8 million words in a year. Students who read an average of 20 minutes a day score better than 90% of all students on reading and writing tests.

Okay, so you are convinced on the importance of reading. What do you do if your student doesn’t like to read? What do you do if your student only wants to play video games? How can you encourage reading? Here are some straight forward steps you can take to encourage your kids to read more:

  • Invest in buying books that they would enjoy reading. Take them to a bookstore and let them pick out some books they want to read. Find a genre that engages the imagination and piques their interest.
  • Make reading a part of the daily schedule. After supper or before bed the whole family takes 20 minutes to read.
  • If your child is still learning to read, read to them. It gives you time to be with them and will help them to learn to read so much faster than if you don’t.
  • Model it. If you have your kids reading you should be reading. Let them see you reading.
  • Talk about books at the dinner table and in conversations with your kids.

A book is powerful tool for your kids in so many ways. As a parent, take the time to unleash the power of reading. This Merdeka weekend would be a great time to start.

Written by Karl Steinkamp

Karl Steinkamp is passionate about Dalat International School and training up young people. Karl was a student at Dalat and returned with a degree in education as a student teacher, high school principal, and now Head of School since 2006.
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