Submitted by missusbee5


Library program rewards

We have done rewards for reading programs since before my oldest son could read. The way that worked was that I could read the books to him and for every so many books I read to him, he received some sort of prize. Usually a coupon to a restaurant and trip to the treasure chest worked just fine. Eventually, if he read so many books, he would get a library book bag and then be invited to an awards night, which would include even more free food. As long as I read to him, this worked out pretty well. The following few years, after he learned to read at the easy level, this still worked well.

Theme Park vs. a Hamburger

It wasn’t until this past year that the food and book bag awards were not enough motivation. He dropped out of the summer reading program after reading only 5 books. Hamburgers and chicken sandwiches no longer enticed him to read. His sister (older) continued reading until they finished the program, attaining every prize that was available. However, the Six Flags reading program was enough of a motivation. He was willing to read in order to go to Six Flags. I began to wonder about why it used to work and why it no longer works for my son, but still works for my daughter.


My conclusion is that my son realized that we were going to feed him whether he read or not. On the other hand, we weren’t going to take him to Six Flags unless he finished the program. My husband took my daughter to the various restaurants for dinner as they accomplished each goal. My son and I stayed home and found something else to eat. My daughter still doesn’t need much motivation. Just the recognition seems to be enough for her. The prizes really weren’t that great. Free food is more of a prize to the parents than the kids.

I now realize that I have to be more creative in encouraging my son to read. He needs a fun activity, not food. Programs are great, if they work, and as long as they work. When it doesn’t work anymore, it’s time for another plan. Rewards need to be something they wouldn’t normally get to have. Now we can’t do Six Flags all the time, but there are some smaller activities closer to home and cheaper that we can do. Chuck E. Cheese is a good example. Or we can let him pick a movie to rent. Also, sweets seem to motivate him still. We do have to feed him, but we don’t have to give him dessert unless he earns it.

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