One of the first questions parents in my training seminars ask me is how they can reward their children for reading.
Well, the first thing I recommend is to give children candy. Kids love candy. If that does not work, give them soda (preferably something that is highly caffeinated). Pizza is another wonderful motivational tool. And – if all else fails – I have found that $20-$50 can get even the most reluctant reader to enthusiastically pick up a book.
I hope you realize I am being facetious.
Kids aren’t stupid. They know that if you have to bribe them to do something, that it is not worth doing on its own. We want our children to want to read, so the best way to “bribe” our children is to work on their psyches and make reading the reward. Here are some of the best ways I have seen to “reward” children for reading:
- Bonus Read Aloud. Tell your children that if they get their reading time in on their own that you will reward them with a special read aloud after dinner, in bed – whenever and wherever they choose.
- Play Read. Reward your children by reading to them in character (e.g., you can dress up like a pirate, or read aloud a special book with a puppet or stuffed animal) or in a special place (e.g., under the dining room table, under the bed sheets with a flashlight, etc.).
- Extra Library Run. You can take your children on a “bonus” trip to the library when they complete their reading.
- Discount Store Goodies. If you really want to give a physical reward to your children for reading, you can find all sorts of cheap trinkets at discount stores like Dollar Tree and the 99 Cent Store (e.g., pencils, notebooks, stickers with messages, etc.).
- Bookstore. Finally, why not take them to a bookstore to pick out a book for purchase? Make sure to write an inscription in front of the book to make it extra special (e.g., “Son – I am so proud of how much you are reading. Love, Dad”).
By making reading the reward, you can truly turn your child into a reader for life.