Why Should Kids Read?
Kids Who Read Succeed!
Reading is the primary skill that everyone must master to become successful in life. This is no different for children, and probably even more critical for young kids to develop fluent reading skills to succeed at school. Reading is a key skill that impacts almost every facet of life - you read news to gain information; read road signs to get to places; and read text books to acquire knowledge in specific subject matters. If you have reading problems, everything else gets negatively impacted. You have difficulties assimilating new information, have a tough time acquiring new knowledge, and may even struggle to read simple instructions on product labels. In fact, 14% of all adults are considered functionally illiterate.
Because of the importance and impact of reading on our lives, we as parents and caregivers must ensure that our kids received the best reading instructions possible, and help them develop a high level of proficiency in reading skills.
So, why should kids read?
The answer is simple: because kids who read will succeed.
There are many studies that have highlighted the many benefits of reading, and reading volume. It should be quite obvious that the more a person reads, the more a person knows. Research has even found that reading volume has a direct influence on our cognitive functions where the more you read, the smarter you become, and that reading directly affects a child's intellectual development.
A study done by Anderson, Wilson, and Fielding had some astonishing findings. Their study looked at the out of school reading habits of grade 5 students, and estimated how many minutes of reading per day were done by the kids.They found that children in the 90th percentile read on average 21 minutes a day, which translated to 1.8 million words per year, compared to children in the 50th percentile who reads just 4.6 minutes a day, which is only 280,000 words per year. In other words, with a 16 minute a day difference, that top 10% of the children were reading 6.4 times more. They concluded that the amount of time a child spends reading outside of school is related to the child's reading level in grade 5 and also in growth of their reading proficiency between grade 2 and 5.
Compared to children in the bottom 10th percentile, the children in the top 90th percentile were reading almost 200 times more each year. The bottom 10th percentil kids were reading a mere 8,000 words per year outside of school. More shocking was their finding that 2 days of reading for kids in the top 90th percentile is equivalent of a full year's reading for kids in the bottom 10th percentile. 
Why should kids read? It should be obvious now. Children who learn to read early become proficient readers. The more a child reads, the better he or she becomes at reading, and the more they will read. For kids who do not read, one of the reasons they do not read is possibly because they are poor readers to begin with, and they have a difficult time reading, and understanding what they are reading. This leads them to dislike reading, and avoid reading - leading to a vicious downwards cycle of being unable to develop any real reading proficiencies.
Kids as young as two can learn to read, if they are able to speak, and children can learn to read even children's books by age 3 and 4.
Growth in reading and how children spend their time
outside of school.
Anderson, R. C., Wilson, P. T., & Fielding, L. G. (1988).
Reading Research Quarterly