In my opinion, a love of reading is the single biggest academic skill a child can develop prior to high school. A child's relationship to reading impacts their academic trajectory more than any other single factor.
In a prior blog post, I offer 10 Tips on how to raise an avid reader.
Today, I have to admit that I have failed to achieve this goal for my 8th grader. He will read when he has to, but there is no spark - there is no love of reading.
I have tried many of the techniques and failed. Maybe I wasn't disciplined enough, or I assumed he'd be like his brothers, or I was just too tired to follow-through on the technique.
As a former Navy SEAL, giving up is not in my playbook, so I began looking for more options.
Here are some things I considered:
Experts agree that reading may be the single best activity a student can do to excel academically in school. It trumps tutoring, Kumon classes, and flash cards. I wholeheartedly agree.
In addition to what reading does for one's imagination and exposure to new ideas, it also takes a tremendous weight off a student's shoulders when it comes to SAT prep (and class work in general).
The truth is, the verbal section of the SAT (which includes Critical Reading and Writing) cannot be studied for at the last minute. There is no way to cram for "reading comprehension", for example. In some ways, a student either "has it" or not.
Sure, there are strategies and test-taking tips that may swing a score by a few points, but a student's true score will be a direct reflection of how much they have read over the past decade. Yes, the last decade.
Yes, there's a lot riding on whether your child grows up as a "reader" or not. And the benefits extend far beyond the verbal section of the SAT.