Leisure-time reading outside of educational activities is a key to superior learning performance, according to a study which examined the reading habits of 155 ten-year-olds. The most surprising finding was not the link between outside reading and educational proficiency, but rather the low amount of outside reading that is actually needed to improve instructional performance.
Astonishingly, ten minutes a day of outside book reading makes a vast difference, according to the study published in Reading Research Quarterly. Improvement tends to level off as outside reading time increases beyond twenty minutes a day.
Unfortunately most students read very little on their own. Therefore, the study suggests, parents and educators should make sure children have access to interesting books at a suitable vocabulary and comprehension level, and that adults read aloud to them and provide time for reading during each day.