The Surprising Benefits of Reading 20 Minutes a Day


Science Fiction

It doesn’t matter the genre reading 20 minutes a day impacts your life…

If you read to your child 20 minutes a day starting in Kindergarten, they will have heard 1.8 million words per year.

By 6th grade, your child will have read for 851 hours.

In 1987 a study was conducted by Nagy and Herman. The results were astonishing. For the time commitment of just 20 minutes per day spent reading, students scored in the 90th percentile on standardized tests. However, there are tons more benefits of reading, and they go far beyond just test scores.

The Surprising Benefits of Reading 20 Minutes a Day 

Reading just twenty minutes per day builds empathy for others, creates a strong vocabulary, and positively affects and boosts your mental and physical health.


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How Does Reading Benefit Your Brain?


Reading 20 minutes a day has benefits for the health and strength of your brain. Reading is a complicated process,  and as you read, your brain changes. 

When you read, your mind creates new circuits and connections. As your reading skills grow, these connections in the brain get more substantial and complex. 

One study involved conducting brain scans on the brain over several days as the participants read a novel. As the storyline became tenser, the brain scans showed more and more brain areas with activity. 

They continued the brain scans for several days after the participants finished reading the novel. Brain activity continued to increase in connectivity.


Benefits of Reading Include Building Stronger Relationships


Surprisingly, reading helps build your ability to socialize appropriately. People who read show a heightened ability to empathize with others. 

Reading literature allows students to put themselves in someone else’s shoes. They gain a perspective of what the characters in the book are experiencing. 

This build-up of empathy results in the development of “soft skills.” The development of soft skills helps students build and maintain better relationships. In recent years, employers have begun to include soft skills as they are looking at job candidates.


Elementary age boy participating in a special education book club reading session.
The special education book club has reading benefits for all ages, including elementary students. Join our next session!


Vocabulary is Another Advantage of Reading


Reading also builds your vocabulary. So how do you increase your vocabulary? Reading books is the best method for building a strong vocabulary. 

Research conducted over 20 years indicates that the common link between successful individuals in their careers is they each have a large vocabulary. 

Another benefit of having a large vocabulary includes being able to process information at a faster speed. Once you know and understand a word, it lightens the load on your working or short-term memory. 

This helps you understand information input at a faster pace. An extensive vocabulary also builds the connections in your brain so that new lines of reasoning open up. 


How Does Reading Affect Your Physical Body? 


Reading Lowers Your Stress Levels-

In one recent study, reading every day reduces stress in your body. Stress is one’s physical and mental reaction to good and bad experiences in our lives. 

Stress is good for you in the short-term. However, when stress is constant in your life, it becomes chronic. The symptoms include

  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia

Reading is Recommended by Doctors to Promote Sleep-

Doctors recommend reading as part of a bedtime routine. When reading before bed, it tends to reduce stress in your body, which then promotes sleep. For more tips on getting your child to sleep, check out our Ultimate Guide to a Better Bedtime Routine for Kids.


Additional Reading Resources 

Getting your child to read is not always an easy task. But, by allowing them to choose what they are reading, and asking questions that encourage them to interact with the text, you are helping them see books as FUN.

The benefits of reading 20 minutes a day are abundant and worth the time. Make reading 20 minutes a day a priority to improve test scores, grow vocabulary, build empathy for others, decrease stress, and increase your sleep. That is a win-win. 

Did you know we host a book club? It is an interactive, highly individualized, small-group reading program designed to focus on critical areas most children and young adults struggle with when it comes to the big three; Reading, Comprehension, and Writing! Check out our SER book club today!


High School student participating in a special education book club session on a laptop at home.
The special education book club has reading benefits for all ages, including high school students. Join our next session!


If you need more resources and strategies to get your child reading 20 minutes a day check out the links below. 

Do you have a child that needs more one on one assistance?  

We offer one-on-one special education tutoring that can be done from anywhere the student is! Why? Because our special education experts conduct their sessions online!

Get started with a free consultation today!

Finding a balance between using technology and not relying on it can be challenging but is necessary for learning. We’d love to hear ways you’ve found to make screen time meaningful.


The Surprising Benefits of Reading 20 Minutes a day
Do your children read 20 minutes a day? There are tons of advantages to reading daily. You will want to see these surprising benefits of reading!

Picture of Pamela Hague

Pamela Hague

One comment

  1. It’s nice to know that there are experts that back up the belief that reading help in inducing sleep. I’m interested in buying new paranormal mystery books in order to add more stuff in my shelf. I think that thrilling stories will help job my mind and make me feel naturally tired at night so that I can sleep more easily.

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