Wednesday, November 23, 2011

How I Get My Kids To Read

I've had a few people ask me how I get my kids to read.

When Warrior was in kindergarten I had to fight with him to read.  I always love to read, and loved reading even more to my kids when they were babies.  I had hoped that my reading to him every night would make him love to read.  Nope.  I constantly had to fight with him to read a book himself.  If I sat there with him he would read it as long as I took turns with him, but he wouldn't read one all by himself.

So I came up with Book Bucks.  They could then turn in this "money" for things they wanted or wanted to do.   Over the years as they've gotten into chapter books and then the big chapter books my prices have gone up.

When they were younger I printed up some slips of paper with numbers on them that I gave the so they could physically see them.  Now that they are older they have some old check book registers that they fill out. 

They used to bring me the book and tell me about it.  What they liked about it, what they didn't like about it.  Then I would hand over the money.

Now that they are older they each have a clipboard with a sheet hanging in our learning area.  On the paper they write the names of the books they've read, how many pages, a short summary, and one thing they liked or disliked about the book.  They know the summary must be different than the one on the back of the book or they won't receive their Book Bucks for that book.

Then every other Friday I will go through their lists and figure out how many Book Bucks they each got for that period.

Over the years I've been able to turn this into something more than just bribing them to read.  They've learned what inflation is.  They've also learned how to budget and save for what they really want.

For Sugar Pea her prices are
                           $0.50 - a picture book.
                           $2 - $5 for a chapter book depending on how many pages it has.

For Warrior -
                           $0.25 - for a picture book
                           $2 - $5 for a small chapter book
                           $5 - $10 for a larger chapter book

They can use the Book Bucks for extra TV time, or an extra half hour of video games.  They also have the option of using them for an extra family movie night or extra family game night.

They can also save up for big things.

$500 - an extra mom/dad and me day a month. 
$1000 - for a new video game/toys - but they have to pay for part of it with their allowance.
$5000 - we will take them an a friend to the local boardwalk for a day.

Before anyone says anything about the mom/dad an me day.  We have these a few times a month.  We will take the kids out for one on one time.  Sugar Pea and I will go for a trail hike or get mani/pedis.  Warrior and I have gone to the batting cages or mini golf.  Their dad takes them for hot chocolate at Starbucks, or for ice cream.  

Its time for the kids to talk to them about anything they want without having the sibling there with them.  When they buy an extra day they get to plan it.  They plan where we go, what we do, and what we talk about.  Its their day to be in charge.

The kids' school also helps with them wanting to read.  If they read a certain number of books a year they get a carnival at the end of the year.  This carnival includes several inflatable things like bounce houses or slides.  They also have game booths where they earn tickets and can use those tickets for raffles or to buy things like popcorn or caramel apples.  Even the middle school kids look forward to this.

I know some parents may not agree with my methods of getting my kids to read, but this works for us. 

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