Friday, July 02, 2010

How I'm motivating my kids to read this summer...on the cheap (mostly)

Aside from participating in as many summer reading programs as possible (Borders, Barnes & Noble, local library and HEBuddy), I am rewarding my kids with money or treats.  My 9 year old hasn't yet written or given me a book report for some cold hard cash (sigh), but she is one book away from a Dollar Store reward.

Our local library is sponsoring a summer reading program; however, due to budget constraints or whatever reason, they are not offering prizes as motivators this year.  It is unfortunate.  They are offering things for teens and adults, but not the little kiddos.  Since my kids have participated in past years, they've come to expect and look forward to those little treats.  They used to get one cheap toy per 10 books read.  I was a little surprised that they weren't doing that this year.

So what's a mom to do?  I had to reward my son's reading, so I took him to the Dollar Store and let him pick out two $1 toys.  I wouldn't normally allow Flarp, but he wanted it so bad (he was told this is only an outside toy!).  Thus far, we've read 44 books together and he's earned 2 more prizes, so it is back to the Dollar Store we go!  I'm praying it is not more Flarp this time...

He's really into the I Can Read! books right now.  He's not yet in Kindergarten, but he is learning how to read now.  He recognizes many words and it is great for me because we borrow several I Can Read! books from the library at one time and see many words that repeat throughout the books.  So he learned "nest" in one book and recognized it in another.  I was so proud!  Of course, aside from Dollar Store treats, I promised him a DS when he learned how to read, so he's pretty motivated right now!

As for me and my daughter, we try to read on the porch at night when it isn't too hot and sticky outside.  She loves to read near me and if I'm lounging in the bed with a book, she's not far behind with her own.  She also reads on her own in her room and we strive to find books that she likes to read.  Right now, she is hooked on various Dear America books, which are sometimes hard to find.  I've had to scour eBay to fill in the gap in one series.  I gave up, too, trying to borrow them at the library.  It seemed like we had the same book out 4 and 5 times a year.  So, slowly but surely, I'm trying to track down her favorite series books on Amazon and eBay so she'll have them forever.

Need more tips to get your kids to read this summer? Try Twittermoms' discussion page to learn more and for some great tips to get your kids reading!

Disclosure:  I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms blogging program to be eligible to get an "I Can Read!" book. For more information on how you can participate, click here.
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