I believe in the perfect world our children wouldn’t require Reading Rewards. We wouldn’t have to beg, plead, or beg our children to read. But instant gratification, visual affects, social media, and apps have tainted the reading waters!
When I was younger I escaped into books. I couldn’t read them fast enough. I did not have a Nintendo until I was 12 years old. After the 800th game of Tetris it just wasn’t fun anymore and I went back to books. My boys have a million other “fun” things to do and escape into. The games are just so amazing now. The amount of television shows and even tv networks is astounding. We watched a few after-school shows and Saturday mornings. Today, reading can easily become a last choice.
Last week I was told by a good friend, “school isn’t what it was like when we were there 20+ yrs ago.” Because I loved our school library. I loved the smell of books. I loved opening a new book and stretching the jacket covers for the first time! I enjoyed book reports. My boys might never love reading as much as I do, but they’re still going to read.
I understand reading can be a sensitive topic. For both my boys – we had to delay reading 6months to a year. I needed to give them time for their tongue muscles to develop for all those rhyming word tongue twisters in Green Eggs and Ham! My boys will never become professional rappers. I get the cold shoulder when someone brags about reading rewards! I can’t count how many toddlers were bragged upon while my child couldn’t read “Fat Cat”.
I was actually so surprised to learn some my homeschool friends did not reward reading, nor did they even expect reading outside of the homeschool lessons. “He just doesn’t like to read so I’m not going to push it”, I was once informed of a friend’s son. Well, I’m all about being the bad guy and pushing my boys when it comes to reading!
If you want to reward digestively – set an agreement on how many books for donuts, cupcakes, giant gumball, pizza slices, etc. we started doing this after we transitioned from Pizza Hut Book It Rewards. Which by the way we all loved!
We went from pizza to gourmet donuts pretty quick. But you can’t buy gourmet donuts regularly. It needs to be a true treat. I started buying donuts on Fridays and my boys stopped reading as much. They were getting donuts regardless how much they read.
If you want to reward financially – because finances motivate certain types, pick a series and decide on the monetary value.
Since my youngest is reading through A-Z Mysteries, each book is worth $.50 – that’s $13 for the whole series! However, the books have to be returned with NO late library fees. It’s nice he wants to read, but it’s a pain he can’t be responsible and ends up costing me.
I created a simple Excel spreadsheet because the child loves checkoff lists. He has epic executive functioning skills. Pretty sure if there is no check off sheet by book 16 I’m going to forget if we read it or not.
We do have one reading requirement – if a movie comes out that is off a book’s story line … the child must read the book first! Thankful books are usually better than the movies.
I encourage parents to keep trying. If your student doesn’t enjoy reading novels try graphic novels, cartoons, or magazines. I was happy to buy Calvin and Hobbes cartoon books and hear my son giggle as he read through them.