Reading at Home

At-Home Reading Expectations

August 28, 2018

Dear parents,

As your child continues to develop as a reader and writer in 5th grade, it becomes increasingly more important for them to read outside of school. While your child is still learning how to read, he/she should be shifting to the more sophisticated “read to learn” phase of their education. As the demands in other academic areas (social studies and science) increase, the role of reading instruction in the classroom changes. Students will be expected to read more and more outside of the time set aside strictly for reading instruction during the school day. To meet these changing demands, it is so important to make sure your child is reading at home every single night!

I expect my 5th grade students to read a minimum of 20 minutes 5 days a week at home. This vital at-home reading time does not have to be 20 minutes of reading silently, although it can be. It could also be your child reading to you, a sibling, a pet, or a stuffed animal. It can be you and your child taking turns reading aloud. It can be time spent reading from a magazine, newspaper, or book. The goal is to just read…and have fun doing it! One important thing to remember is your child should be reading texts that are “just right” for them. One rule of thumb to remember is the “Five Finger Rule”. If your child cannot read 5 or more words on any one page, it is too difficult. Find something a little easier for now.

Depending on your child's reading needs, an “At Home Reading Log” may be sent home during the school year with your child. It should be completely filled out each time your child reads outside of school. Please keep it in your child's DRAGON binder to prevent it from being misplaced. I will be collecting these reading logs every other week. (However, I will be sporadically checking them several times throughout the week, so please make sure the reading log is not removed from the DRAGON binder.) Again, I expect 5th graders to read a minimum of 20 minutes 5 days a week at home. Whether it is 20 minutes before bed or 20 minutes traveling in a car, if a routine is established, it really does become a habit that most children look forward to each day. Good reading habits don’t usually come quickly for children. They need you to help establish this critical piece to their literacy education.

Thank you for your support!

Barbie Wykes

Research Behind At-Home Reading

Why Your Child Should Read for 20 minutes Every Day



Student A reads 20 minutes five nights of every week;
Student B reads only 4 minutes a night...or not at all!

Step 1: Multiply minutes a night x 5 times each week.
Student A reads 20 min. x 5 times a week = 100 mins./week
Student B reads 4 minutes x 5 times a week = 20 minutes

Step 2: Multiply minutes a week x 4 weeks each month.
Student A reads 400 minutes a month.
Student B reads 80 minutes a month.

Step 3: Multiply minutes a month x 9 months/school year
Student A reads 3600 min. in a school year.
Student B reads 720 min. in a school year.

Student A practices reading the equivalent of ten whole school days a year. Student B gets the equivalent of only two school days of reading practice. By the end of 6th grade if Student A and Student B maintain these same reading habits, Student A will have read the equivalent of 60 whole school days Student B will have read the equivalent of only 12 school days. One would expect the gap of information retained will have widened considerably and so, undoubtedly, will school performance.

Which student would you expect to read better? Which student would you expect to know more? Which student would you expect to write better? Which student would you expect to have a better vocabulary? Which student would you expect to be more successful in school....and in life?

It is Student A! Please help your child prepare for success by creating a strong reading “habit”! Make sure he/she is reading each and every night!

(Source: U.S. Dept. of Education, America Reads Challenge. (1999) "Start Early, Finish Strong: How to Help Every Child Become a Reader." Washington, D.C.)

At-Home Reading Log

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