Family Literacy Day

Take 20 minutes to keep family literacy skills sharp

Life can be busy, especially for families. Between work, school and extra-curricular activities, it’s difficult to fit in extra time to spend learning as a family. This can become even more difficult as children get older and become more independent. But no matter how difficult it may be, it’s important to make family learning time a priority.

Putting aside just 20 minutes a day to do a fun learning activity – whether it’s reading a book, playing a game, following a recipe or singing a song – can have a significant impact on both parent and child. Here are 10 reasons why you should set aside 20 minutes a day to read and learn as a family.

  1. Have better relationships. Setting aside 20 minutes of quality uninterrupted time to do a learning activity together provides important bonding time, which helps establish stronger relationships.
  2. Improve academic performance. There is a strong correlation between a child’s ability to read and their academic performance. Children who read or are read to for 20 minutes a day have scores on standardized tests in the 90th percentile.
  3. Reduce Stress. A 2009 study by the University of Sussex found that reading for just six minutes a day can reduce stress levels by up to 68%. Imagine how relaxed you’d be if you spent 20 minutes a day!
  4. Increase your happiness. Learning gives people a sense of purpose and accomplishment that lead to a happier more fulfilling life. Adult learning is said to improve optimism and self-worth by eight per cent.
  5. Improve your vocabulary. People who read for just 20 minutes per day see 1.8 million words each year!
  6. Improve your memory. Your memory makes connections between what you already know about the topic of the story and its content. Reading has been linked to slowing mental decline by improving overall mental flexibility, an important component to developing and retaining memory.
  7. Earn more money. For every year that a person spends reading, their lifetime earning potential goes up considerably. For a time investment of approximately 87 hours a year (20 minutes a day for 5 days a week), you can increase both yours and your child’s future earning potential.
  8. Improve your health. Statistics show “adult learners are 14 per cent more likely to give up smoking. There is also an improvement in eating habits with reports of, “up to 50 per cent reduction in obesity for men who gain their first qualification.”
  9. Live longer. According to research, mental stimulation like reading can help protect memory and thinking skills, especially as you age. Reading every day can slow down the late-life cognitive decline and memory deterioration, indirectly helping you to live longer.
  10. Free entertainment for the whole family. Taking the whole family to a movie can be expensive. Keep everyone entertained with free fun family learning activities, like the ones available at FamilyLiteracyDay.ca. Download these resources for free and keep them on hand when you need an idea for how to spend 20 minutes on a family learning activity.