Reading for the Future: The importance of reading 20 minutes a day

The Children's Reading Foundation MC

RICHLAND, Wash. –In collaboration with the Children’s Reading Foundation of the Mid-Columbia, KAPP-KVEW’s Good Morning Northwest anchor Amanda Mason launched a new exclusive segment to ensure every family has the tools to help their children succeed. Reading for the Future will air every Wednesday on Good Morning Northwest from 5:00 a.m. to 7:00 a.m.

As schools are back in session, early learning education experts said the learning doesn’t stop in the classrooms. The Executive Director of the Children’s Reading Foundation of the Mid-Columbia, Elizabeth Barnes, said that a parent is a child’s first teacher and to help children succeed families should spend time reading at home.

The first five years of learning are critical. Research shows that by the time a child is five-years-old their brain is 90% developed, said Barnes.

“Reading a minimum of 20 minutes a day allows children’s vocabulary to grow and expand, exposing them to 1.8 million vocabulary words a year.” -Elizabeth Barnes, Children’s Reading Foundation of the Mid-Columbia.

Barnes said that you don’t have to read for the 20 minutes consecutively; you can space it out if you have younger children. The best rule of thumb is to take your child’s age and times that age by two. For example, parents should try to focus on six minutes throughout the day for a three-year-old. She recommends having a library of age-appropriate books within reach and for a few minutes throughout the day help toddlers pick out a book they want to read with you.

RELATED: Children’s Reading Foundation gives 500+ books to kids in the Tri-Cities

Barnes said reading 20 minutes is not just about building vocabulary and critical thinking skills but creating a bond with you and your child. She mentions it allows you to engage in conversations about real-life situations that children can relate to through books.

For older children, Barnes said parents can focus on a full 20 minutes of reading. “My son is seven years old, and we read together 20 minutes every day. And the way that we read together is we sit together on the couch we grab a couple of storybooks. I like to choose books that are a little challenging for him to read, and then I read a page, and he reads a page,” said Barnes.

During her reading time, she also asks her son comprehension questions: Who are the characters? What is the setting? How do you feel about this character? How would you react to this situation? Asking questions also helps develop the critical thinking skills a child needs to develop their thought process.

If you are interested in learning more tips to promote reading for 20 minutes a day with your children, visit the Children’s Reading Foundation of the Mid-Columbia’s website.

A special thank you to the Richland Public Library who allowed KAPP-KVEW to use their library for this project. To learn about all the latest activities and programs for all ages visit their website calendar.