How to Use Incentives to Get Your Child to Read

Using incentives to get children to read is somewhat of a controversial topic. Some people feel that children should read just for the fun of it and not because they’ll get a toy or prize.

But the reality is that kids sometimes need to be encouraged to read. And we also think that their hard work should be recognized and rewarded. This is why our summer reading packets contain a printable certificate of achievement. However, we think that incentives are helpful for motivating kids to to keep reading during the summer and throughout the year.

How to Use Incentives:

First, establish a clear goal. Talk it over with your child and come up with a realistic goal together. For example, you might decide that your child will read one book a day, one a week, or 30 minutes a day. And also determine how long they’ll do this work. Will they do it for a month? Two months? All summer?

Second, use a reward chart or reading log. Reading logs and reward charts are a way to monitor your child’s progress. This is important so that you can make sure that your child is sticking to his goal. Kids also like to be able to see the progress that they are making and how close they are to meeting their goal. Our summer reading packets include printable reading logs.

Third, reward your child when she meets her goal. The most important thing is to be consistent and reward your child when she is successful and completes her work. The reward recognizes her efforts and helps to motivate her in the future.

Types of Incentives:

Incentives don’t have to be physical or expensive rewards. Be creative and think outside the box. Remember the goal is simply motivation and recognition. And we want to raise children who love to read just for pleasure. Incentives should play a temporary role; along the way your child may discover the sheer joy of reading and learn to read just for pleasure.

Here is a short list of possible incentives, but you know your child best, so choose rewards that appeal to them specifically.

  • A trip to the park
  • An extra 15 minutes at bed time
  • An extra 15 minutes to sleep in the morning!
  • A trip to the bookstore for a new book
  • A movie
  • Frozen yogurt
  • A small LEGO mystery pack
  • A trip to the museum
  • A trip to the zoo
  • A pet fish!
  • A fishing trip
  • Their favorite meal
  • A party!
  • A new toy
  • A scavenger hunt
  • A new app
  • A new computer game
  • A new bike
  • A gift card to their favorite store
  • A [fill in the blank]…..Be creative!!

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