Motivating your child’s reading

Julie Haden —  : Apr 2, 2014 — Leave a comment

rewardsAs adults, we all know that sustained reading takes self-discipline, self-direction, and sustained attention. So how can you motivate your child to develop and apply these important attributes to reading behavior?

The way I generally reward my students for these behaviors is through specific praise like, “You did a great job tracking the words while you read.” Or by bringing in a new book to work on about a subject they love. It might be dogs or even African Dwarf frogs.

Many of my parents of students I work with ask, “What is the best way to motivate my child to keep reading?” Here are healthy ways to reward your child for their reading abilities:

  1. Reading with your child. Your child’s greatest reward is time spent with you, the parent. So a great way to reward their reading abilities is with reading time together. This can be you reading to them or your child reading to you. My daughter Bella loves to read to me – fairytales especially. Once she read me to sleep. She was so pleased with herself. In this busy world, I often forget how that bonding time makes me feel, too – relaxed and loved.
  2. Time at the public library. Another great reward is a visit to your local public library. It is a great way to introduce your child to different types of genre such as fiction, non-fiction, and even poetry. Also, it’s a great way to teach your child how to find information about an interest. Bella became very interested in frogs. She was so excited to know not only where to find the books, but that the library had vast amounts of information available on the subject.
  3. Learning beyond the books. Let your child’s learning go beyond the pages of books. If your child is reading about the differences between animal and plant cells, find her an inexpensive microscope. Encourage her to take her own samples of cells and visually compare them under the microscope. Or if your child is reading about robots, reward her with tinkering items to help her create her own robot or machine.

Your child will not need these rewards after every completed book. In fact, research shows that intermittent reinforcement is the most effective way to administer rewards. Rewards that come at unpredicted times are very motivating. So it is okay to surprise your child with a microscope when they have diligently been reading or studying cells.

Being creative with your child’s rewards is so much fun. You will be amazed at how excited your child gets with your unique, random ideas for rewards. Here are some examples of unique rewards I have used with my own child and students: thread, needles, seashells, and reused kids magazines.

Learn more about Magazines and your early reader

For more information on positive rewards for your child, read this article.

How Not to Talk to Your Kids: The inverse power of praise. – New York Magazine

What are some of your favorite ways to reward your child for their reading progress and abilities?

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