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How Much Time Should You Spend On Reading?

“How much time should I spend teaching reading?” It’s a common question with a somewhat surprising answer.

Here’s Rachel to explain …

How Much Time Should You Spend on Reading?

All About Reading lessons are designed so that you can work at your student’s pace. Here are three simple guidelines to follow.

  1. Spend 20 minutes per day teaching reading.

    We recommend spending about 20 minutes per day, five days a week, on reading instruction, but you can adjust this for early readers or for older remedial students if necessary. Short daily lessons are much more effective than longer, less frequent lessons.

    It can be helpful to set a timer. When 20 minutes are up, mark the spot in the lesson where you stopped. When you begin teaching the next day, briefly review some of the daily review cards and then begin in the Teacher’s Manual wherever you left off.

    What if you can’t finish a whole lesson in one sitting? No worries–this next tip is for you.

  2. Lessons often take more than one day to complete.

    It’s important to note that the lessons in All About Reading are not meant to be completed in one day. In fact, some lessons may take a week or more to finish.

    A number of variables including your student’s age, attention span, prior experience, the difficulty of the concept being taught, and the length of the stories all play a part in how quickly a lesson can be completed.

    After your formal lesson time is up, it’s time for some great read-alouds!

  3. Read aloud to your student for 20 minutes per day.

    Reading aloud to your student is one of the most important things you can do to promote future reading ability. In fact, it is so important that we’ve added a reminder at the end of every lesson.

    Reading aloud for 20 minutes a day may not seem like a lot, but the cumulative effect cannot be overstated. By reading aloud for just 20 minutes a day over a five-year period, your student will have the advantage of 600 hours of read-alouds. That equates to huge gains in vocabulary, comprehension, and background information.

20 minutes a day, 5 days a week, equals 600 hours

When you combine 20 minutes of direct reading instruction with 20 minutes of read-aloud time, you are providing your student with the very best opportunity for long-term reading success.

20 minutes of reading instruction plus 20 minutes of reading aloud equals reading success

How much time do you spend on reading instruction each day? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.

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majesty

says:

This is nice!

Kristi

says:

What a great reminder with planning this years school “schedule”. Thanks

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You’re welcome, Kristi.

April Justis

says:

Great reminder! Needed it today. 🙂

Melissa Griffin

says:

I like knowing that some lessons take longer than a day! Some we fly through and others take a week. Both timelines are just right!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Yes, so true, Melissa!

Karalyn

says:

I needed this reminder that some lessons take more than 1 day. It takes the pressure off and allows me and my reader to go at our own pace!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

I’m glad this was helpful for you, Karalyn. On average, most students need 2 to 3 days for most lessons in All About Reading, so needing more than 1 day is a typical pace.

Amy

says:

Very good tips. My 8 year old can read or listen to reading for hours. For my 6 year old, he’s off ignoring me after 5 minutes. I may try a 20 min timer.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Learning to enjoy being read to can take some time for some children, Amy. You may find the ideas in our Reading Aloud to Kids Who Can’t Sit Still blog post helpful. Also, try different times of day. I found my little ones enjoyed being read to after lunch more than any other time of day.

Sarah

says:

I am encouraged to watch the clock a bit more for reading. When I’m reading out loud I never stop at 20 min! :)

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Sarah,
Reading aloud for 20 minutes a day is more of a minimum goal than time to stop. If the child is enjoying being read to, it’s fine to keep going as long as you both desire! I find my voice starts to give out after an hour, but tea with honey helps.

Melanie

says:

I ask our kids to read a minimum of 20 minutes per day. For our older one, this has naturally increased over time and now she’s in 5th grade, she can read books that she loves for an hour or two per day!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Wonderful, Melanie! It’s the “Matthew Effect” Affect in play. The more a child reads, the easier it becomes, the more enjoyable it is, the more the child wants to read.

Jamie

says:

Generally I end up spending around 45 minutes on a lesson because my son keeps asking to do more. I try to keep going as long as he’s having fun.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Jamie,
Yes, if a child is enjoying the lesson and still doing well with it, it’s okay to continue longer. However, watch that your child is not tiring. One of my kids still enjoyed the lesson after 20 minutes or so, but he began to have more trouble with the words because he was tired.

Christen

says:

Great tips! Read alouds are such a sweet time for my family!

Christine Brick

says:

Such a great reminder! I have been known to get caught up in “checking a box” in the past… 😂

Laura

says:

My 8-year-old reads very well at this point. I don’t really need to “instruct” her reading. So do I just have her read for about 20 minutes, and then read aloud to her for at least 20 minutes?

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Great question, Laura! I think you will find our What Happens after All About Reading? blog post helpful, even if your child never did All About Reading. Our suggestions are the same for any child that is reading well.

Yes, keep her reading for about 20 minutes a day. Have a portion of that reading be reading aloud to you, so you can hear that she is continuing to read well and isn’t developing a habit of skipping or guessing words and that she is reading with expression.

Be sure that she reads from a wide range of genres and both fiction and non-fiction. You can choose books that interest your student and books that correlate to other subjects you are studying, such as historical fiction or Usborne books that cover science topics. The link above has several possible sources.

Have you used All About Reading with your student? Even a child that reads well for her age may have lots she can learn from the higher levels. Level 4 is the final level of the reading program. At the end of Level 4, students have the phonics and word attack skills necessary to sound out high school level words, though younger students may not know the meaning of all higher-level words yet. Word attack skills include dividing words into syllables, making analogies to other words, sounding out the word with the accent on different word parts, recognizing affixes, etc.

I hope this helps, but let me know if you have additional questions.

Amy

says:

My little is pretty young, so we make lessons very short. We try to leave plenty of time for read alouds and exploration of books

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

What a wonderful way to adapt to your child’s needs, Amy!

Michele Matthews

says:

Thanks for all the awesome tips!!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You’re welcome, Michele!

Rebekah Herrmann

says:

Great tips. We love AAR and it’s nice to be reminded that you don’t have to spend hours and hours on schooling.

Melissa

says:

We do approx 20 min for each child on their AAR curriculums and then we read a ton during the rest of the day! Between free reading and all of our extra subjects we are always reading over here!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Wonderful, Melissa!

Teresa Kunberger

says:

I am always reading instructions! Weather its cooking, homework with the kids, doc appt stuff, even direction instructions

Liberty H

says:

Great video, thank you.

Catherine

says:

Thank you for these tips!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You’re welcome, Catherine.

Kim

says:

I’m so glad my kids love reading! We’re trying to teach them to read on their own, still, but I enjoy curling up with my babies on the couch and just enjoying these moments we have together.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Reading aloud to children is such a special activity, Kim!

Krista Trujillo

says:

I am relieved to be given such a clear formula to use in our reading time. (Work on the lesson for 20 minutes and then read aloud for 20 minutes.) I like how the creators of All About Reading recognize that everyone learns at their own pace. When I try to push my child through a lesson, just to finish it…that is not fair or helpful to the learner. I like this paced approach much better and am excited to use it with my six-year-old!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

I’m glad to hear this was helpful for you, Krista!

Jessie

says:

We read every night! I usually don’t put a timer on, but we read 3 stories.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Wonder, Jessie! We recommend 20 minutes as an estimate, and three stories a night sounds great!

Jennifer T

says:

I love reading and hope to pass that love on to my children.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

That is a wonderful goal, Jennifer!

Daniele S

says:

Love reading aloud to my girls and they love it too! I often read to them during lunchtime, when they don’t want to sit and eat. Then they often eat better too most times 😉 thanks for the tips!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Reading aloud while your children eat is a great tip, Daniele! Thanks for mentioning it.

Jocelyn Estes Abyad

says:

This method has worked so well for my 6 year old!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Great to hear, Jocelyn!

RuthAnne Darr

says:

Thankfully all of my grandsons love reading! Writing, though, is a different story.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Yes, writing can be an issue, RuthAnne. You may find our Spelling: How Much Time Should I Spend? and Dysgraphia: How can I help my child? articles helpful.

Lindsay Brown

says:

We are a family that loves reading! It shouldn’t be a struggle for us to work this in.

Cassandra Nunn

says:

One of Our homeschooling philosophies is teach reading. First, most importantly. Once they know to read and comprehend what they read, no matter what the rest of life throws at us, my children will have the foundation to never stop learning. So we spend a lot of time daily of reading. we read everything from the shampoo bottle all the way to “boring” public notices.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Great point, Cassandra. Yes, someone that reads well can learn anything!

Hannah Wyatt

says:

We usually set th timer for 20 minutes like suggested, but sometimes it goes off and she’s engrossed in what we are doing so we keep going!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Hannah,
Yes. If a child is enjoying the activity and doing well with it, it just makes sense to continue. It’s just important to end for the day before the child is tired or frustrated.

Jennifer W

says:

These are good goals for every day. We have several days a week of reading as loud for over an hour easily, but 20 minutes is a good base goal for new read aloud families and busy times!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Thank you, Jennifer. Yes, many families read aloud to their children much more than 20 minutes a day, but trying to hit at least 20 minutes is a great goal.