Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Why I don't reward reading

We go to our base library once a week, and it seems as though every month or so, the librarians there hit me up to join the reading rewards program. As they are telling me about the grand prize, and how many books my children need to read, I glance behind them to see the large conglomeration of plastic boxes filled with crap small prizes that my kids could earn throughout the duration of the program.

And every time they ask, I decline to join.

I don't want to start rewarding reading, because, ideally, reading should be rewarding in and of itself. 

We made reading together a daily routine a long time ago, so spending time engrossed in a book is not something new to my children. We read books during the day as part of our homeschooling routine (SO MUCH is learned from books!) and we also read to our kids before bed every night. Our kids excitedly look through the pile of new library books we bring home with us, and sometimes, we'll find them huddled together around a book in their bedroom.

The last thing I want to do is to start giving them prizes for reading a set number of books. I don't want to associate reading with something they have to "get done," or something for which they deserve a prize.

So I'm trying to understand why those reading programs exist. I'm sure there are kids who don't like reading, but why is that? It is because reading is difficult for them and they've fallen behind the same reading level as their classmates?  Is it because they have yet to find books that interest them and really suck them in? Or is it because they never saw the enjoyment of reading modeled in their home?  It a lack of interest in reading our fault? Or theirs?

I'd love to hear your opinion on this, and your experiences with these programs (or not). 


  1. Ben only read four books tonight, plus his usual 6 before bed. He's almost two, so they're really short, but still. I'm with you, we don't need more cheap toys he doesn't care about and I don't need to reward what I see as a lifestyle. Sorry, that doesn't answer your questions at all, but you're not alone.

  2. Our reading program is during the summer when kids are out of school. Ours is different in that they get to do challenges that go along with different books they read so it brings the book to life. The first reward is an activity card with discounts for the city so that they can get free bowling games,etc....this also comes with a fee waiver card for the library which we love...the 2nd prize is just a sticker and a coloring page but the kids still like it and the 3rd prize is a new book of their choice from the library cart. So in our program the kids are reading so that they get a brand new book, not cheap plastic toys...if that were the case I would hate it. I remember in our hometown that the rewards for reading were good too. There was a purple book bag that someone made that I earned that I still have because I loved it so much :) My kids are the same way about reading though. They grew up with the love of reading and we intentionally turn off the T.V. to read so that they see there are other options!