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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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Chelsie Ashley

says:

It has taken me a little bit to understand 20 minutes of instruction is plenty. The public school teacher in me felt like I needed to spend hours on reading instruction. We are on level 3 with my older child, and the results are amazing! 20 minutes is all he ever needed. We love this program!

Kaeli

says:

Keeping our reading lessons to 20 minutes a day is great for both me and my son! Short and sweet, not overwhelming and super manageable. I have loved seeing how much he’s progressed using this program!

Kristy

says:

Wow! That’s good to know! It’s all a learning curve :)

Cara

says:

Thank you for your encouragement and reminders to put aside the busy work and just read to my kids!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You’re welcome, Cara. There is a lot of “work” going on when children enjoy hearing great books read aloud!

Jami Dunsford

says:

Thanks! I always beat myself up thinking my child is not reading enough – but I want her to love reading. We can do anything for 20 minutes at a time.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You’re welcome, Jami! The most important thing to be doing enough for reading is doing it consistently day in and day out, not working for long periods on any one day.

Nicole Ikeda

says:

We are using All About Reading Level 1 and some days my son does 20 min and some days 30-40 min. But anything more than 20 min is a hard push for him. He has a genuine natural love and focus in math but he does not love reading (yet). But the All About Reading program is working! We have reached lesson 41 now and I can see his fluency and decoding improving. I’m so glad he is learning to read at home with me using this program. I think in a classroom he would have been struggling even more. Thank you for creating this program.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Nicole,
I’m so excited to hear that you are seeing improvement in your son’s ability to decode and his reading fluency! Keep up the great work!

Lydia

says:

I love the focus on both reading aloud and reading instruction. Such a reasonable amount of time to fit into our schedule, especially when I have 2 kids I’m teaching.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Thank you, Lydia!

Jonie B.

says:

We were able to do more then 20 minutes when we were on the reading part because my daughter loved reading. I will say that for spelling we definitely have to do 20 minutes a day or my daughter is not a happy person when learning how to spell.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Thank you for sharing this, Jonie! Yes, individual enjoyment of the subject definitely can have an affect on how long the student is able to stay engaged.

Kelly Levesque

says:

I think any amount of time a child wants to spend reading is adequate. Making them read when they don’t want to will turn them away.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Thank you for your thoughts on this, Kelly. However, many students, if given a choice from day to day, will opt to never work on learning to read. For many children, learning to read is hard and it is often human nature to want to avoid hard work when possible.

That is why we recommend working on reading each day, but keeping the time short and as enjoyable as possible. Progress will be made and a positive outlook toward reading will be maintained. And when students have mastered reading, it will no longer be hard anymore!

Carleen

says:

I’m not even sure we spend 20 minutes, I know in the beginning that would have been way too long for one of my kids. We would occasionally be able to come back to it after a break, but some days it was only 5 minutes.
I love that homeschooling let us go at my kid’s pace.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Such a great approach, Carleen!

My youngest child wasn’t up to working on reading for 20 minutes a day until she was approaching 10 years old. Before then, I paid attention to her cues and fatigue. She typically grew tired a bit after 10 minutes. But since we were consistent day in and day out, she finished Level 4 before she was 11 and now, a few years later, happily reads for hours at a time!

Simo

says:

What an encouragement/ and motivational simple rule to engage in reading! Thank you!!!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You’re welcome, Simo!

Tashlyn

says:

Thank you for the info!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You’re welcome, Tashlyn!

Kelly Weber

says:

This info has been so helpful! Thanks AAL!!!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You’re welcome, Kelly!

Sonya

says:

Book were important to me growing up And my parents didn’t let us watch tv often. So books were our escape. So glad that we developed a love for books early on board and that I could pass that on to my kids!!!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Wonderful, Sonya! One of the best predictors of a child’s love of books is the parent’s love of books!

Crystal Anderson

says:

I have notice my kids love now when I say it’s time to read a book. They actually look forward to it!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Oh, that is so wonderful, Crystal!

Sarah Thomas

says:

This advice has helped so much! I was trying to stretch my son too far on time and it made us both miserable. This has made our time manageable and enjoyable!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

I’m so glad to hear this, Sarah! Positive experiences with reading lessons is so important not only for a child’s attitude toward reading but also for making the best progress possible!

Tara A

says:

We started out spending 20 min per day and now in AAR3 we spend closer to 30. One of our goals with this program was also building stamina and it is working great!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

I’m so pleased to hear that your student’s stamina for reading is increasing with All About Reading, Tara! Thank you for sharing.

Elizabeth Martin

says:

This is so helpful to remember not to spend too long on a lesson and to break it up into more than one day.

Kasey Werner

says:

I love how AAR makes it so doable to teach reading and read aloud with your kids in bite sized chunks!

Angela Gustafson

says:

This is so refreshing! Takes the pressure off. Thanks!

liz minx

says:

I learned a lot. Only 20 minutes is so much easier!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Great to hear, Liz!

Susann

says:

Great insight! 👍

robin kuhl

says:

We try to read for 30 min a day

Joy

says:

We sure love reading aloud in our homeschool 😊

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Reading aloud to children is such a wonderful thing, Joy!

Sunita K.

says:

Thanks for the tips! Read aloud time has become a favorite time for our family!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Great to hear, Sunita!

DM

says:

Thank you for this advice, especially about lessons taking more than one session.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You’re welcome. Yes, it is important to understand that a lesson is a unit of learning, not necessarily one day’s worth of work.

Brittany Meier

says:

Hope I win give away!

Whitney G

says:

Kids seem to do so much better with short and frequent lessons! Love the reminder to read aloud after instruction/practice!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Thank you, Whitney!

Paula Madden

says:

We generally spend 10 minutes in silent or reading to self from any book they chose. We usually spend 10-15 minutes reading out-loud together from a book of my choosing. There is always an opportunity for free time reading at the end of the day or on week ends. My goal is 30 minutes daily.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

A wonderful plan for lots of opportunities for enjoying books, Paula! Thank you for sharing.

Elvina

says:

Thanks for the ideas!