Monday, August 5, 2013

Book bucks, stickers, bikes and the love of reading.

I have read several excellent posts regarding the use of rewards and incentives to encourage reading over the last few months.  Joe Bower wrote an excellent post on his experience with his own daughter's school and their use of book bucks.  The school used book bucks to motivate their students to read more books. Bower went on to write, "Before Kayley went to school she said she read because she liked to read with me and it was fun, but now she says she likes to read because she wants book bucks." I shared his post with our staff and it led to some very good discussions and caused many to question their use of rewards.  

Chris Wejr, another great blogger put together a post a year ago discussing how his school has removed rewards and incentives from their reading program.  Wejr shares several creative ways his school has created a love for reading without rewards. It begins with, "No charts. No stickers. No pizza parties. No awards. No certificates…. and LOTS of reading!"

Don't get me wrong I know schools have the right intentions and many believe that rewards motivate children to read more. It may help them read more, but is it really about quantity or should it be about quality?  Does this really encourage reading?

I am writing this post tonight, because like Joe Bower my daughter said something tonight that disappointed me.  She participated in the summer reading program and did an excellent job reading books over the summer. For every 10 minutes their name was entered into a bucket to win a bike, and low and behold she won it.  I have nothing against the program but looking back I feel I enabled her to be motivated by rewards. Now that the summer reading program is over and the bike has been won, her motivation to read on her own has wavered.  Tonight after reading a few books I asked her if she was ready to read one of hers, and she said, "Daddy I don't need to read on my own anymore the summer reading program is over."  This really got to me.  I really want her to love reading, not just for stickers, pizza parties, and book bucks.  I have seen first hand how rewards don't motivate.  

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