Fun Reading Motivation

I love to read.  It was becoming concerning to me that my children didn’t seem to have that love of reading…yet.  Mr. OverKill isn’t a big reader, and he told me that Bubba probably wouldn’t be a big reader, because he and Mr. OverKill are so much alike.  Very distressing to the reader in me!

A few weeks ago I came across an idea to encourage students to read.  I thought, well, I’ll give it a try and see what happens.

It started out simple, for each book the kiddos read, I would let them have a miniature chocolate bar. We don’t eat a ton of sugar around here, so I thought this would be pretty good motivation. Boy was it ever!  I ended up having to place some guidelines on what type of books they had to read, because they were starting to run around on a sugar high.  Just kidding, I didn’t let it get that bad.

So, here are the guidelines:

1. It cannot be a book they are required to read for school.  I want to encourage “reading for leisure.”

2. The book has to be at or above their current reading level/grade. There are lots of simple ways to determine reading level. First, sometimes books have a reading level printed somewhere on the back of the book. You can also look the book up on Amazon.com and sometimes they will have a reading level. Other reading geared sites may also have books leveled for you, like scholastic.com.  I also found a handy way to check reading level myself, if all else fails.  It takes a tad longer than simply looking online, but…it works. It is called the Fry Graph for Estimating Reading Ages. Follow that link if you want to check it out!

We also made it into a challenge of sorts, by keeping the bar’s wrappers and making a graph out of them on an extra bulletin board we had.

bars

Tootle Bug and Bubba got quite competitive, can you tell?  Tootle came to me one day and said “Just to let you know, I won.”

tbbars

She had reached the top of the bulletin board, so she assumed that she was the winner.  Too cute! Now she is just clustering them around up there.

Now, I know some people are against rewards like this, and I respect their position.  We never used it as a bribe, reminding them constantly, “Read and book and you will get a chocolate bar!”  It was something they remembered on their own, and were self-motivated to do.  We have tried very hard not to bribe our children into doing anything, but we do offer rewards…and consequences.

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