Back in March, I decided to encourage the children to read more. I started my own incentive program using a Reading Chart. I printed out a calender for each child and they began logging their minutes. For every 300 minutes of reading they earned $5 at Books-A-Million. When they got to 1,200 minutes each - or $20 - we went to the store and they were able to choose new books to read. My son bought the Chronicles of Narnia series – which I giggled inside knowing that I was planning to buy these this fall for homeschooling anyhow – so there was no loss for me and Alexis went for some Amelia Bedelia books. Here’s how our charting looked then:
I could not believe how badly my children wanted to read. They would take books outside and read so long I’d actually have to say “you need to do something active kids! Why don’t you take a break from reading and go swing or ride your bike lol!” Also, everywhere we go my son has been tucking his books under his arm. He can’t leave home without it. He is reading in the car and keeping track of his minutes – he even asked if he could bring his book into the grocery store…ummmm…no. lol!
After our second trip to Books-A-Million, I saw how beautifully this was working so I thought I’d get a little more creative with our chart. I decided to make it look a little like the Candy Land game – only minus the candy! My son is earning stars and my daughter is earning smiley faces!
Now I must admit, this has brought out a competitive spirit in my kids that is not always beneficial. It has called for some grace on the part of my son towards his sister who is having trouble keeping up with him. She got a little frustrated and I didn’t want her discouraged – so sometimes we let her have a sticker after reading just 20 minutes.
My vision for the next reading chart is to make one that requires more teamwork. I’m going to draw a gumball machine on a large poster board and allow them to each earn a smiley sticker for every 30 minutes of reading – when the gumball machine is full – we’ll go to Books-A-Million. This will take teamwork and eliminate the competition that arose during this chart! Live and learn right?
Now let me throw in a little announcement!!! Starting 2 weeks from today my older sister, Jennifer, will be joining us for a 6 weeks series on Summer Reading with our children!! She worked in a library starting at the age of 16 straight through college - this girl LOVES books, has an education degree and currently works at a local Christian Elementary School part-time. I can’t wait for you to meet her!!! She’ll give great tips and suggestions for age appropriate reading and share some great parenting books!
I encourage you not only to get your children into books this summer – but to take time out to read to them:
I had a Mother who read me the things
That wholesome life to the boy heart brings-
Stories that stir with an upward touch.
Oh, that each mother of boys were such!
You may have tangible wealth untold;
Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold.
richer than I you can never be-
I had a Mother who read to me.
-from “The Reading Mother” by Stickland Gillilian
- found in Sally Clarkson’s book Educating the WholeHearted Child
Do you have a summer reading plan? Tell us about it!