The Incredible Benefits of Reading on Student Success

In the United States, only an average of about 79% of adults read well enough to be considered “literate.” Literacy being simply “the ability to read and write” doesn’t mean that 79% of adults can read and write proficiently; it only means that they can recognize words by sight and assemble letters to make words. The levels of literacy necessary to be successful, however, are far higher than that minimal definition. In fact, a student’s reading comprehension directly corresponds as a predictor of both college and career success. That means that if you want your student to be successful, it’s time to convince them about the magical benefits of reading on their success.

Increasing Vocabulary Skills

“Young children whose parents read them five books a day enter kindergarten having heard about 1.4 million more words than kids who were never read to,” according to research done at Ohio State University. Reading, without a doubt, is the best way to increase your vocabulary. When you read, you are exposed to a variety of words that you otherwise might never come across, and that can help you understand far more of what you read and hear.

When it comes to preparation for college or career, reading to increase your student’s vocabulary should be at the top of the list of motivating factors. Students who have a higher vocabulary end up having a higher GPA and end up being more successful in college. In fact, study after study has examined this correlation and found that the likelihood of overall success increases with the increase of students’ vocabulary. 

One study completed through a grant by the U.S. Department of Education examined a total of 25,090 students and found that their vocabulary level consistently predicted whether or not they would be successful in college. Another study completed by the Economic and Social Research Council in the UK found that students who read during their spare time understand 26% more than those who don’t. 

In other words, if you want to be successful in college, you’ve got to make sure you’re doing everything you can to increase and maintain a solid vocabulary during the years before college. Reading is absolutely the best and most proven way of doing that, and there’s no secret to this “magic.”

Developing Empathy

Empathy is considered one of the most valuable skills that people can develop in a modern society, but it’s not something that just happens. People have to make an effort to understand others’ feelings, and they have to practice seeing situations and life through another’s perspective.

Reading exposes you to far more types of people, situations, cultures, and historical events than daily life can provide. As a student stretches the type of reading they do, it can help them see the world through a historical lens, it can help them understand the perspective of someone from another culture, it can help them become more understanding about where their peers and coworkers are coming from, and it can help them become a more critical and analytical thinker. Certainly, developing empathy is a skill that reading can provide, and that skill will help your student lead a more fulfilling life.

According to the University of California, Berkeley, “Empathy leads to school success. Students who are empathetic are more cooperative in class, have better relationships with their teachers, and are more engaged in school.” In fact, multiple studies have found that the higher a student’s level of empathy, the more productive they are in “cooperative learning and work environments.”

Improved Self-Esteem

Developing strong reading comprehension improves students’ self-esteem, too. So not only are readers doing a great job preparing themselves for college and career, but they are also helping improve their own well-being. Having a strong self-esteem is another way to predict student success, and yes, it works like magic! When students understand the world through many different lenses because they are strong readers, they feel more confident in themselves. They have an expanded knowledge base that helps them be more confident both socially and academically. 

Because students who are strong readers statistically have higher self-esteem, they also tend to use that confidence to face challenges with more confidence and are less fearful about trying new things. In fact, reading builds students’ critical thinking and analytical skills, giving them more tools at their disposal for those challenges and new experiences.

When it comes to convincing your student about the magical benefits of reading, the science and the studies prove the benefits. And once your student gets into the groove of reading for pleasure outside of academics, they’ll soon see the positive results as well.

About Excel High School

Excel High School is an accredited online school that offers high school aged students and adults who want to earn their high school diploma a fully online, flexible, and self-paced program that fits around their schedules, with a support team to help them along the way. If you’re not already a student with Excel High School but would like to learn more, feel free to check out our programs on our website. Still have questions? Feel free to reach out to us by text at 952-465-3700 or call us at 800-620-3844. Our staff will be happy to answer any questions you have and guide you to the best program for your individual needs.

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