Make reading a workout


Most experts suggest kids should read 20-30 minutes a day. It sounds like a good idea, but timed reading often leads to two unintended consequences – clockwatching and stalling.

Instead of absorbing the material in the book, kids look at the clock every couple of minutes in hopes that the time will be closer to ending. Either that, or they take the entire time period to read one page.

No coach ever instructs his/her team to do five minutes worth of push-ups. The team is commanded to drop and do 50. Give kids a specific number of pages to read. Younger kids get fewer pages. Older kids get more.

Your children will stop clockwatching because the objective is the number of pages. Their eyes will stay in the book. Stalling won’t help as slugging through page one won’t help them get to page 20.

Coaches have long known that giving kids specific and doable extra workouts will help them in their chosen sports. Basketball coaches tell players to shoot a certain number of free throws or three-pointers after practice.

Boxing and wrestling coaches assign specific numbers of push-ups, pull-ups and squats. If a high school wrestler does 20 extra pull-ups a day, that amounts to over 7,000 pull-ups a year.

The wrestler who does 7,000 more pull-ups than his opponent has a decided advantage on the mat. Same with reading. If a kid reads 20 pages a day, they’ll complete at least a book per month, maybe more depending on their grade and reading level.

A kid who reads a dozen books a year also has a decided advantage over their classmates and a leg up in the pursuit of higher education. Many parents want their children to be eligible for athletic and academic scholarships.

Well, if you want a scholarship, you should first try being a scholar.


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