Mrs. Cohen Argumentative Essay January 25, 2014 School-aged Children Should Read for at Least 30 Minutes Daily “Being swept away and transported into another world is awesome, Mrs. Cohen,” one of my students excitedly explains to me. Too many students are not capable of reading at their grade level. School-aged children benefit from reading by improving their ability to decode words, thereby increasing fluency. Vocabulary skills are built upon, making it easier to understand complex text. Reducing stress levels by becoming engrossed in a great book is another reason why children should read. School-aged children should read for at least 30 minutes each day. Acquiring the important skill of reading quickly is imperative in today’s fast-paced world. Stopping to sound out a word takes a lot of time and concentration, thus slowing down the reading process and interfering with one’s ability to understand what has been read. “As automaticity in word recognition develops, students read faster and have greater opportunity to gain meaning from the text. Difficulty in recognizing individual words hamper the ability to gain meaning from the text” (1998 – Stricker, Roser, and Martinez, Eduplace.com). Decoding quickly allows for fluency to occur naturally. However, some might argue that reading requires one to sit still versus being physical which can be difficult for small children. But, reading is beneficial because it also leads to obtaining a large vocabulary. “Children who acquire a substantial vocabulary are often able to think more deeply, express themselves better, and learn new things more quickly” (www.scholastic.com). As we all know, school is fastpaced, rigorous, and challenging. With each successive grade level, the content becomes increasingly more difficult and those who are able to tap into their vocabulary bank will have an easier time with all subjects. When making connections while reading, or drawing upon stored vocabulary words for composing written pieces, vocabulary knowledge will help. As a teacher who grades numerous papers, I can tell you one thing – students who insert complex vocabulary words into their papers prove to me that they are educated, well-versed, and interesting. Students have argued that they do not feel their writing requires complicated words to be considered well done; I disagree. Yet another benefit of reading is that a great novel can take us into another world where we might not otherwise be able to visit. Life can be hectic and stressful. We live in a world that is fast-paced and demanding. Constant emails, voice messages, loud televisions, computer screens, and feeling overscheduled is an all too familiar lifestyle for all of us. Being swept away and transported into another world is a great way to unwind, decompress, and relax. “Reading can help reduce stress and is the best way to relax. Even six minutes can be enough to reduce the stress levels by more than two thirds, according to new research.” (The Telegraph, University of Sussex, March 30, 2009). Cracking open the pages of the most current novel I am reading, my heartbeat slows down and my body feels like mush; my mind blocks-out everything except for the characters, the plot, and the mystery of what is happening inside those word-filled paper pages. It feels good to learn about people and places I would never really have the chance to meet or visit. However, I have talked to some people and they do not feel theneed to learn about other people or other cultures. Becoming engrossed in a great book relaxes me and helps to reduce my stress levels. Reading is so awesome Reading offers so many benefits that there is not a solid reason why school-aged children should not be taking advantage of this on a daily basis. Decoding and fluency skills are increased, vocabulary knowledge is acquired, and reading helps to reduce stress levels. Do yourself a favor, read daily for at least 30 minutes: go out there and purchase a great book!