READING CHALLENGE – 20 minutes a day

“Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.” Joseph Addison

Just 20 minutes of focused reading a day is life changing, yet many students have completely lost the habit of reading for pleasure.  We want to encourage our students to get reading again as this is the single most important thing you can do to be a successful learner both at school and life in general. 

As Joseph Addison’s quote states, reading is an exercise for the mind and scientific studies show that reading a novel increases blood flow and improves connectivity in the brain. Reading also helps you to calm down and relax your mind, supporting positive emotional wellbeing.  There is so much research showing that those who grow up reading regularly develop better cognitive skills, a broader vocabulary, increased general knowledge and a better understanding of other cultures.  It is also more likely to determine whether a child does well at school than their social or economic background.

So parents, we need you!  You are the most important educators in your child’s life and its never too late to get your child into a good habit with reading. They may be just beginning to read in the primary phase or much more fluent in the secondary phase, but you can still play a vital role in helping them maintain an interest in books.   Find out what interests them, help them to find books that will be engaging and fun; and set aside some time each day to get your child into the habit of reading regularly.  Find time to read with your child if you can and ask them questions about what they have been reading if they read on their own. 

We have compiled a reading list to help you get started. Developing a good reading habit will change your child’s life forever!

If you’d like to read more about the proven power of reading (example below) click on the following link:

Proven power of reading

  • Reading for pleasure is more important for children’s cognitive development than their parents’ level of education and is a more powerful factor in life achievement than socio-economic background. 6
    16-year-olds who choose to read books for pleasure outside of school are more likely to secure managerial or professional jobs in later life. 7
  • Having books in the home is associated with both reading enjoyment and confidence. Of children who report having fewer than 10 books in their homes, 42% say they do not like reading and only 32% say they are ‘very confident’ readers. For children who report having over 200 books at home, only 12% say they do not like reading and 73% consider themselves ‘very confident’ readers. 8
  • Children who read books often at age 10 and more than once a week at age 16 gain higher results in maths, vocabulary and spelling tests at age 16 than those who read less regularly. 9


Reading Resources

SGS reading list