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The importance of reading stamina

Kate Watson-Penhall
Kate Watson-Penhall (4 posts) Literacy Coach, Reading Specialist and Nord Anglia University PD Coordinator View Profile

In Grade 2, students have been working on increasing their reading stamina. This is the child’s ability to read independently for longer periods of time. Students in Grade 2 Green have been working on this together, reading for a little longer each day and plotting their progress on a bar chart. This will really help to build stronger readers!


Readers of every age can work on building their reading stamina, setting themselves up to read longer, more complex texts. Here are some top tips:


1 - Vary the way reading is done.

Children can read to someone, read to themselves and listen to reading.


2 - Find books that are Just Right.

This means that they are a suitable level (not too difficult; not too easy), or that they are of high interest. Don’t forget that each child can borrow 5 books at a time from the school library, which has a huge selection of suitable books.


3 - Be ambitious and realistic.

The time that children can sit and focus for varies depending on their age. At Early Learning levels, try reading shorter books with your child of only a few minutes. From Kindergarten, try starting with 5 minutes of reading together, and add a couple of minutes every few weeks. This time should increase as we go up the grade levels, so that by Grade 5, children are able to read independently for extended periods of time.


4 - Limit distractions.

Turn off electronic devices (both parents and children) for the time you are reading so that the focus is solely on the books. Enjoy books with your child.


5 - Celebrate reading stamina.

Celebrate the time spent reading, and the enjoyment gained from reading.


The feeling of being lost in a book is something we want students to experience in order to encourage them to be life-long readers and build comprehension skills - which means they need to read for longer periods of time and not be distracted.

A good level of reading stamina will not only allow children to access longer books and more intricate stories, but it will also support them in accessing texts across the curriculum, setting them up for far-reaching success.

“Reading's payoff often comes after some effort... But the slower-paced pleasure comes with more satisfaction in the end.” For more information on the difference between the skills involved in reading books and reading digital texts, see the following links: