For many teachers, attempting to transform your struggling readers into book-smart whiz-kids can seem a difficult, if not an impossible, task, especially for those with larger classes to teach.

But it can make all the difference in going that extra mile for children struggling with reading. Reading is essential for children to have a bright future, and practicing and comprehending what they’re reading can affect every part of their life, including:

  • Their ability to enjoy learning and reading
  • Their capability to understand questions and statements for testing purposes
  • Their comprehension of the world around them

By taking those extra steps, teachers can provide their students with the tools they need to succeed – and these statistics back that up:

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Extra Time Can Make All The Difference

If just a few short minutes could make all the difference to your students struggling with reading, then surely that time is worth investing? According to one of the most prominent annual studies of students aged kindergarten-grade 12, children that began the year struggling, but read just six more minutes at a time, soon caught up with their peers. It’s been proven that students reading 35% more minutes per day than their current rate show great leads in their comprehension based on achieving their personal goals.

Studies focusing on third-grade students found that more than 100,000+ words were read by students who started out struggling and succeeded later on through additional reading time. They also showed an incredible 11% higher comprehension of reading. Even more impressive is their study of sixth-graders, which saw a remarkable 230,000+ word increase and reading comprehension 9% higher than average. Those percentages don’t lie.

Students Need to Read More, Not Less

It’s a sad fact, but it’s true. Recent studies have shown that more than 54% of students read less than 15 minutes daily. It must be addressed to ensure those struggling can improve their reading comprehension and understanding. That’s more than half the students in an average class, with only 18% reading for a greater length of time than 30 minutes. Reading a little more each day can greatly benefit students in the long term.

To add insult to injury, a recent study of over 9 million students found that students reading more than the average 15 minutes learned how to read faster and were far less likely to fall behind. Reading between 30 minutes to one hour gave the best results – which shows just how vital consistent reading time is to help your students to get ahead.

The Direct Correlation Between Reading and Graduation

A longitudinal study carried out on almost 4,000 students revealed that 23% of students rated as ‘below basic’ with their reading skills in the third grade did not graduate from high school. That’s a staggering 1 in 4 students. For third-graders with proficiency in reading, that percentage is significantly reduced, with just 4% of students, or 1 in 25, failing to graduate. This indicates that reading doesn’t only affect you in the short-term; the long-term effects of low or below-necessary reading skills can carry serious consequences later in life.

This research suggests that proficient readers were almost five times as likely to graduate as all the third-graders studied throughout the study. For those who are basic middle-of-the-road readers, a surprising 9% did not graduate, showing just how compelling reading can be. Further research in 13,000 urban-based students found similar extreme results – with 82% of students who failed English class in sixth grade far more likely to fail to graduate from high school and an additional 6% graduating late.

Better Reading, Better Scores

You may think that only younger children and students are affected by the amount they read. But in fact, studies on NAEP results show that students that read often have consistently higher scores than their peers, and that gap only gets bigger as children get older. In children aged 9, an average of 18 points is seen between students that don’t read and those who do most days. By age 13, this gap has increased to a concerning 27 points. By 18, that gap has reached a staggering 30 points, leaving non-readers far more likely to achieve low or failing grades.

This is especially true for necessary testing such as English class. Research suggests that for every 1,000 words read, a student gains one new word for their vocabulary. For students reading 30 minutes each day from K-12, that adds up to a fantastic 13,7000 unique words based on independent learning. For high scores in English, a larger vocabulary is essential to succeed. For example, students who read less than 15 total minutes each day will learn far fewer words independently, leaving them much further behind. 12,200 words behind, on average.

Beating The Statistics

As a teacher, you know the value excellent reading comprehension has for your students. However, engaging them in reading and enjoying books is a different matter. With these statistics in your arsenal and a good understanding of why reading is so critical, getting the motivation to go above and beyond for your students is even easier. Passing these insights on to parents can also be an excellent way to get them involved and help them create a brighter future for their children.

Do you think reading is integral to helping children develop? Perhaps you’ve struggled with students who don’t find reading easy, and you’ve found solutions that help you transform how they feel about books. Leave us a comment below to let us know what you think and what you do in the classroom to combat bad reading habits.