Hameray Classroom Literacy Blog

The Importance of Reading 20 Minutes Per Day

This is a guest blog post. It's authored by special guest blogger Paula Dugger, who is an educational consultant with a rich-literacy background that includes serving as a Reading Recovery Teacher/Teacher Leader, first grade teacher, Title I and high school reading teacher, as well as a Reading Coordinator. 

Why Reading Everyday Is Critical to Long Term Success

“There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate’s loot on Treasure Island.” —  Walt Disney

Reading daily at home, as well as for long stretches at school, is critical to a child’s long-term success in school and in life. It is important to remember that books should be selected by the child and should not be too difficult to read.   (For more information on the components of independent reading, see my recent blog post, 5 Tips for Independent Reading in Your Classroom , posted November 19, 2015.)

“Children are made readers on the laps of their parents.” —  Emilie Buchwald

Reading aloud with children is known to be the single most  important activity for building the knowledge and skills they will eventually require for learning to read.”  —  Marilyn Jager Adams

Parents are a child’s first teacher, and by the time the child turns one year of age they will have learned all the sounds needed to speak the language spoken in the home. But they have to hear that language! The more stories they hear read aloud, the more words they will be exposed to, and the better they will be able to talk.

Hearing words help to build a rich network of words in a baby’s brain. Kids whose parents frequently talk/read to them know more words by age 2 than children who have not been read to. And kids who are read to during their early years are likely to learn to read at the right time.”  (Kidshealth.org, May 2013)

“Today a reader, tomorrow a leader.” —  Margaret Fuller

“There is no substitute for books in the life of a child .” — Mary Ellen Chase

Investing as little as 20 minutes a day can be the difference in a lifetime of success or failure for a child. The table below representing Nagy and Herman’s (1987) research clearly emphasized the importance of reading at least 20 minutes per day.        


“A book is the most effective weapon against intolerance and ignorance.” —  Lyndon Baines Johnson

“Reading is a basic tool in the living of a good life.” —  Mortimer Adler

Did you know?

  • Many states project how many prison beds it will need by determining the number of students reading below level in 4 th   grade.
  • 60% of America’s prison inmates are illiterate.
  • 85% of juvenile offenders have reading problems
  • Children who have not developed some basic literacy skills by the time they enter school are 3–4 times more likely to drop out of school. (US Department of Education)

“Literacy is not a luxury, it is a right and a responsibility .” —  Bill Clinton

“Too many of our children cannot read. Reading is the building block, and it must be the foundation for education reform.” —  George W. Bush


Twenty minutes a day reading aloud to young children or listening to the child read is the key to academic success. Reading twenty minutes a day is a small investment of time that will create a life-long learner.

Reading is a discount ticket to everywhere.” —  Mary Schmich


Paula Dugger has a B.S., M.Ed., and Reading Specialist Certification from The University of Texas at Austin and Reading Recovery training through Texas Woman’s University. Paula does educational consulting and training through Dugger Educational Consulting, LLC.

Paula and her husband Neil are parents to two wonderful daughters, Alicean and Ashley, two sons-in-law Kevin and Patrick, and grandparents Carter and Blake. She also raises registered Texas Longhorns on the weekends. The longhorn cattle are featured in her first book published by Hameray Publishing Group, titled  Longhorns.


For more information on the Kaleidoscope Collection , in which Paula's book can be found, click the image to the left below to download an information sheet highlighting key features.