The Benefits of Reading 20 Minutes a Day
There are so many reasons to read every single day. From building focus in a world where attention spans are becoming shorter and shorter to nurturing imagination and creativity, reading is a fundamental skill with a variety of serious benefits. What are some of the major benefits of reading?
Students who read just 20 minutes a day outside of school encounter 1.8 million words, on average.
Through reading, students meet characters of all different backgrounds and circumstances. A study done by the researchers at The New School in New York City found that students who read literary fiction were able to better empathize with people’s thoughts and emotions.
SHARPENING READING COMPREHENSION
Becoming a better reader takes practice. Reading different texts from a variety of genres helps students sharpen their comprehension skills, especially when students annotate the texts they are reading.
DEVELOPING WRITING SKILLS
Becoming a good writer starts by being a good reader. The more students read the more they internalize grammatical and syntax patterns, challenging vocabulary that elevates their writing, and an understanding of how authors use specific devices and conventions to relay their message.
SCORING HIGHER ON TOUGH EXAMS
Students who read daily score, on average, in the 90th percentile on standardized tests, such as the SAT.
And you can achieve all of these benefits with only 20 minutes of daily reading!
How can you get the most out of your reading?
In order to get the most out of your reading, you need to read actively. What does that mean? It means engaging with the text in a variety of ways. Here are some ways to “talk to your texts”.
1. Annotate your texts.
The most important reading skill is to annotate your texts. Annotating is a way of talking to the text. Not only does it help you practice analysis skills, but it also develops your ability to interpret underlying meaning, acts as a way to keep track of quotes to use as evidence in your essays, and forms the basis for essay topics.
2. Mimic the writing style of the authors you read in your own writing.
One of the best ways to improve your writing skills is to mimic the writing style of the authors you’re reading. This exercise helps you find your writing voice. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to be perfect. Just have fun with the process. Mimicking the writing style of your favorite author helps you practice structure and style until you find your own.
3. Keep a separate section in your notebook for new vocabulary.
While reading it’s important to keep track of new vocabulary you encounter. The best way of doing so is to keep a separate section in your notebook where you define the new vocabulary word and jot down the quote where you read it in use.
4. Find patterns in the texts you’re reading.
Every text has a pattern, from novels to non-fiction articles. Once you are able to find the pattern in writing, you are able to replicate that pattern in your own writing. For example, essays have very specific structures. Once you know the structure, it’s easier to write the essay because you know what’s expected. The more patterns and structures you are able to identify in different types of writing, the easier it will be to identify those patterns in passages you’ll find on the SAT or in your college reading requirements.
5. Most importantly, choose books about topics that you are passionate about!
You’ll get the most out of your reading when you are reading about topics you love! So make sure you are choosing books in genres and about things you want to learn or know more about. And it doesn’t matter whether you pick up fiction or non-fiction books, all reading helps build the skills we talked about at the beginning of the blog. Plus, being able to choose which books you want to read gives you power over your learning.
With just 20 minutes a day of reading, you can improve your writing skills, build empathy, and boost your test scores! Looking for something to read? Check out our curated reading recommendations for students in grades 4 through 8 and grades 9 through 12.
If you’re looking for a customized plan and one-on-one support in reaching your academic goals, MEK has the programs to guide you through your journey.
This spring, we are offering MEK Learning Circles, High School Admissions Prep, and SAT Prep programs designed to help you ace your courses, prepare for tough exams, and master the skills that build academic confidence in the classroom and beyond. Sign up for our in-person or virtual MEK Learning Circles Evaluation Test or in-person or virtual SAT Practice Test to get started!
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