Chapter 12Reading 5 Percent More to Our Children

There are 1,440 minutes in a day, and 5 percent of that is 72 minutes. Most elementary schools, at least the good ones, recommend children read 20 minutes a day. That's about 1.5 percent of the total minutes in a day. Well, what if you did even a little more—maybe 5 Percent More!

Why is reading to our children important? Well, the answer would seem pretty simple. Read to our children and they will do better in things such as reading comprehension, testing, social skills, communication skills, and, ultimately, life skills. A child's chances of ultimately having a better life are irrefutable if they are read to and learn how to read early on. The hard science proves what most of us already know: Reading to our children is just about the best thing we can do for them at an early age.

We are quick to think about and talk about how adding a few more dollars to our IRA or a few more dollars to our savings can really grow over time. Yet how often to we think about how a few more minutes of time with your child can compound over time? And reading is one of the best ways to make that deposit grow.

I had a chance to interview Brian Gallagher and Dr. Jean Ciborowski Fahey of Reach Out and Read, an organization founded in 1989 that distributes thousands of books for children and encourages pediatricians to stress the importance of reading. They went beyond what the empirical data shows in our interview. During the ages 0 to 5, a child's brain ...

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