A child who reads is a child who usually does well in school, is a good speller, has higher critical thinking skills, and has a greater pool of general knowledge. Children should be encouraged to read every day, and as soon as they can turn the pages of a picture book, they should be taught to love and respect their books. Parents should make themselves read more, as well, if they want their children to follow this example, since children often imitate their parents. A love of reading can also be encouraged when parents read to their children, and storytime can be one of the best times of the day.
Ideally, children should be encouraged to read whatever they find interesting — within the bounds of decency, of course — even if it looks "too difficult." Six-year-olds may not understand much about the encyclopedia, but should be encouraged to pick up a volume whenever they feel the urge.
A good rule is to get a child between the ages of five and seven to read for 30 minutes each day. The time can be increased as the child gets older. A parent may have to start with ten minutes and work up to 30, but that is acceptable. Some parents may actually have to limit their child’s reading time if they have a bookworm on their hands. Some children give themselves headaches, and parents need to limit book time to no more than an hour or two each day if this happens.
In general, however, allowing a child to spend as much as he or she wants with a book is a good thing. A child who reads, and who challenges himself with advanced material, will almost always do well in school. Parents should provide all kinds of books, as well as children’s magazines. The child should also have his or her own library card, and trips to the library should be a regular event.
When a child learns to read, a new world opens for her. She can go anywhere, be anyone or do anything. With the huge dividends this form of learning pays, a child should be encouraged to do it as often as possible.