Those of you who remember the old RIF commercials will probably chuckle at the reference, but the statement is as true today as it was back then: reading is fundamental. Strong reading and writing skills lie at the heart of the best grades, most impressive SAT & ACT scores, and most enduring professional success.
Just because someone knows how to read doesn’t mean she reads well. Reading is a skill-based activity that improves with focused practice. That means that students should know how to read properly and then internalize the right strategies by reading challenging level-appropriate texts on a regular basis (HINT: National Geographic may be level-appropriate, but People magazine never is!)
The benefits of exceptional reading skills are almost limitless, but include many obvious and highly desirable advantages:
- increased reading speed (which mean less time doing homework)
- improved comprehension (which means more knowledge as well as better grades and scores)
- advanced vocabulary (which means more sophisticated, persuasive communication)
- decreased frustration (which means reading is more enjoyable, which inspires more reading)
Even when school is out of session, reading should be a daily practice. Reading for pleasure is a habit everyone should cultivate.
But what if a student doesn’t know how to read properly? Just as reading is practicable, this skill is eminently coachable. A student with the right teacher can learn the essential reading skills in a surprisingly short time. With dedicated practice, all of the advantages of effective reading — from better grades and scores in less time to more sophisticated and effective communication — accrue.
To paraphrase an old line, the best time to learn to read the right way is ten years ago, but the second best time is now. Why wait any longer?
**Curious about how to get your high schooler started on the road to regular reading? Register to attend our next free parent online seminar on Why–and What–Teens Should Read Outside of School!**