Reading rewards for a 10 year old? - Mothering Forums

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Old 05-29-2012, 07:20 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My daughter is a great reader and tests at a sixth grade reading level in fourth grade. She is creative and curious about many things. This is why I am so shocked that she does not enjoy reading. When I was her age, I would take a book to bed every night and read until I passed out. I think she has read ONE book at her leisure this entire year! I know I should be *making* her read, but I hate it. I hate that it's a battle, that she only reads for the time required by school (20 minutes) waiting for the timer to go off the entire time, and never enjoys it.

 

I know I can't force her to enjoy something, but I am thinking of trying to institute my own summer reading / rewards incentives for her over the summer. She only reads for school and the year is almost over but I still want her reading daily. Has anyone ever done this? Does anyone have good ideas for rewards that are not food or monetary for a 10 year old? I don't want to do a library program because we own so many books at home as I have bought her everything she expressed an interest in though she has hardly cracked any of these books open (Harry Potter series, Magic Tree House series, graphic novels, any book she wanted!)

 

Anybody else have kids who hate to read for no apparent reason? How about any other suggestions on how I can encourage her to find joy in literature? I think that is a cornerstone of lifelong learning and intelligence...

 

Thank you very much!

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Old 05-29-2012, 08:08 AM
 
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Reward systems tend to backfire. They can work for a bit which is fine for short term goals such as potty training or some small habit you want your child to move out of. Sometimes rewards can help a child get past a small fear. It may work for a little bit for reading but it won't inspire a long term love of it. Before long, the novelty of rewards will wear off and she'll likely decide the rewards aren't worth doing an activity she doesn't enjoy.   

 

I have one voracious reader and one who rarely picks up a book. Both were early and very advanced readers. My non-reader actually has the strongest vocabulary, excellent comprehension and spelling and he can read at adult levels in two languages now (he's 11.) It's just not an activity he seeks. They have done competitions and AR at school and DS will enjoy the "sport" of it but all these years, it's never instilled any sort of love for reading in itself. The second the competition is over or his AR requirements are met, his interest in reading comes to a screeching halt. 

 

What works is reading with him... even now. He loves to read with DH particularly. DS is extremely social and he just doesn't see a point of solitary activities. Reading together makes sense to him and so that is what we do. Reading for skill is also something he understands. If there is something he wants to learn, sure, he'll read about it no problem. This summer he's excited to do some bigger carpentry projects and so he's reading through "how to" books and deciding what he wants to make. Sometimes he can be encouraged to read a book before the movie comes out on a summer blockbuster. Cooking too.. he actually likes to cook and so if I give him the task of finding a recipe that interests him, he'll read through cook books. Sometimes a friend can get him to pick-up a book on recommendation. Books on tape in the car are another great way to introduce literature without turning it into a chore.

 

I just try not to worry so much about it. My DH didn't start reading "for fun" until after we were married. I've never seen my dad read a novel and I know he never read anything that wasn't required through school. He's still constantly learning as an adult and one of the brightest people I know. It's hard for us heavy readers to understand but I've learned it's just not something you can force.


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Old 05-29-2012, 10:00 AM
 
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One of mine loves to read, while the other doesn't. Every now and again, she'll find something she enjoys. But it is rare for her to pick up a book for pleasure. (She's 18, ad is better about it, but nothing like her brother.) That said...

 

Our schools - even elementary - had summer reading requirements. That was not optional as far as I was concerned. The rest? I made sure I had a variety of reading material available, but left the reading choice up to her.

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Old 05-29-2012, 12:02 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I hadn't considered it, but she is a much more social creature than I, and maybe that's why she doesn't like to just sit and read by herself. She still asks me to read to her all the time but I try to discourage that because I want her doing the actual reading. I just watched a film on Netflix about a neurosurgeon... as a child, his mother made him read a book a week and turn in a written report on it by the weekend... he's a gifted neurosurgeon so I'd say he turned out pretty well! I do stress about it because I have high hopes for her and I just want her to be encouraged rather than forced to undertake some reading. I think if she would get far enough into a book to be hooked on a plot that things might flow smoothly from there.

 

Anyone have rewards systems for chores for this age group that are not monetary and are working well?

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Old 05-29-2012, 12:31 PM
 
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Having books easily available that are short reads, comic books, magazines - it's all still reading.  I know I'd often sit down and pawn through our calvin & hobbes collection or my mom's reader's digests at that age more than I'd sit down and read a whole novel or something comparable.  Maybe poetry?  

 

Maybe if you found something a little shorter than standard to read yourself, and got another copy for her (make coffeehouse 'dates' together to read a little and snack) - might be a fun plan and a nice time together?  Especially if she enjoys you reading to her - you could do a little of that, and she could read some on her own too.  

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Old 05-29-2012, 12:42 PM
 
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Would she enjoy reading to you?


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Old 05-29-2012, 12:56 PM
 
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Our library has a program where you can read to dogs.  It's pretty popular here.  Would your daughter enjoy something like that?


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Old 05-29-2012, 01:48 PM
 
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Out of the 8 in our family, 2 boys just weren't natural readers. One just struggled and never liked it, the other one hated it until he picked up westerns. He was a horse lover from a toddler. He started his own horse shoeing and training business at 18 and he LOVES reading now. Mostly Westerns and things about animals, but he is a reader. Maybe she's not found something she loves yet?

 

I homeschool my 3 teen/tween SILs and I've had my own summer reading programs for them. The two oldest have really developed a love of reading from that. I've done different prizes. Some of them include my husband and I taking them out to eat, picking their choice of prizes, new books, a new game, or something else they would like. Depending on the child, time might be enough, or a game, or a date night with daddy, a sleepover, family camping, just something that sparks her interest. You might even get her involved with the process, retaining your veto power of course. :)


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Old 05-29-2012, 05:33 PM
 
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First, when was the last time she had a comprehensive eye exam? Not a screening, but the real, entire deal?

 

Second, my views on reading aloud are the opposite of yours. I still read to my children (who are 14 and 15) nearly every day. We are re-reading the Hobbit right now. I feel installing a love of the written word is deeply important for them long term. Right now, you are acting as if reading is something like picking up one's laundry off the floor -- a chore that everyone should do for themselves, rather than as if it is a delightful thing.

 

I also think that a house full of books, while wonderful in many ways, can be a bit overwhelming. A fresh book recently chosen can be more  dynamic. Our library's summer program for teens includes TONS of fun activities -- art projects, computer classes, etc. One of my DDs like to attend these with a friend.  Some libraries have book clubs for teens that meet and discuss a book -- your social DD might enjoy one of those.
 


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Old 05-29-2012, 07:48 PM
 
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Reading is what my dd does in order to stay up past eight at night. On non school nights she can stay up ad late as she wants. We also do the summer reading program and have almost no screen time so reading is a big passion for both of us.
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Old 05-29-2012, 11:16 PM
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You mention that she is social.  My best friend and I often swapped books, or we would read the same mystery at the same time, racing to figure it out first.  My oldest loves to read as long as it isn't something required (that turns it into a chore).  She also loves being part of a book group.  They all read the book, talk about it for a whopping 10-15 minutes, and then just have fun.  My second is tougher because reading is hard for her.  But, her two best friends love to read.  That gives her motivation.  With one of the friends, the mom and I are friends too so we started a mother/daughter book club.  The club didn't really last long (with multiple members) but the four of us still enjoy meeting and discussing the book.  We take turns hosting and will usually do something (craft/food/etc) to coincide with the book.  If the book is too difficult for my dd, we read it together.  
 

I totally agree with pp about reading aloud to your dd.  Keep doing it!  Don't Stop!  The act of reading aloud will make reading a partnered activity and will often foster a love for books.  Just because a child doesn't want to read alone yet doesn't mean they won't ever.  When you read aloud you introduce them to different chacters, etc.  This can be great with a series.  You mentioned Harry Potter.  Read the first one out loud.  If she wants, see the movie together as follow up.  If she still is interested in HP, perhaps she will start the second book by herself.  Or, you can just read the whole series out loud.  My 12 yr old has been a voracious reader since she figured out how.  Yet, she still LOVES it when I read to her.  It doesn't matter what it is, she likes it.

 

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Old 05-30-2012, 05:28 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Maybe if you found something a little shorter than standard to read yourself, and got another copy for her (make coffeehouse 'dates' together to read a little and snack) - might be a fun plan and a nice time together?  Especially if she enjoys you reading to her - you could do a little of that, and she could read some on her own too.  

That is SUCH a cool idea! I never would have thought of it... thanks!

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Old 05-30-2012, 06:44 AM
 
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 I do stress about it because I have high hopes for her and I just want her to be encouraged rather than forced to undertake some reading. I think if she would get far enough into a book to be hooked on a plot that things might flow smoothly from there.

 

 

 

Thing is... Even if there is one book she gets hooked into, doesn't mean she'll automatically love to read. If it's something she doesn't enjoy, she may not ever become a reader.

 

As for a love of reading determining success? My ex is not a reader except when necessary. He's a full prof. at a top university, in a scientific field. Your daughter's love of reading is not necessarily a determining factor in heer future success.

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Old 05-30-2012, 12:41 PM
 
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As for a love of reading determining success? My ex is not a reader except when necessary. He's a full prof. at a top university, in a scientific field. Your daughter's love of reading is not necessarily a determining factor in heer future success.

 

Agreed. My DH is an executive at an aerospace firm and hates to read. He never ever reads fiction for pleasure. Sometimes he'll look through non-fiction while he's flying, but then it's pretty limited to something like The Atlas of World War II, and he only looks at the pictures and maps. And even that has pretty much ended now that he has an iPad with TV shows and movies loaded onto it.

 

I love to read and have a BA in English and most of a MA as well. Guess who makes more money? Guess who gets more job offers? The brilliant engineer with good social skills.


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Old 06-04-2012, 07:26 PM
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Reward systems tend to backfire. They can work for a bit which is fine for short term goals such as potty training or some small habit you want your child to move out of. Sometimes rewards can help a child get past a small fear. It may work for a little bit for reading but it won't inspire a long term love of it. Before long, the novelty of rewards will wear off and she'll likely decide the rewards aren't worth doing an activity she doesn't enjoy.   

Exactly. Loving reading isn't something you can "reward" your child in to.
Read Harry Potter, etc. (all the books you have) out loud to her, if she won't pick them up for herself. She will love snuggling up to you and listening to a good story. Eventually she'll want to dive into books on her own. And get her eyes checked--reading is no fun if you can't see as well as possible. (My ds' love of reading absolutely took off after we got him glasses.)


(And now that I've read the whole thread, I see that I am echoing others suggestions.)

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Old 06-05-2012, 07:30 AM
 
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I tend to think some people just don't take joy in reading & that's okay. While you may feel that reading is a "cornerstone of lifelong learning and intelligence," it's important to note that people can read for information - to acquire knowledge, to be successful in learning etc. - in order to accomplish those outcomes without ever reading for pleasure. Personally, I hate reading & always have. I just don't think that there's anything that could have been done in terms of incentives growing up that would have inspired me to change my feelings about it.

My dd on the other hand can't get enough & I will never understand how or why. Our library down the street has a series of activities & programs for tweens & teens that she really likes.
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Old 06-05-2012, 07:55 AM
 
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One thought I don't see mentioned is 'Books on CD'.  Reading, being read to by an adult, audio books, possibly an E-reader, all are great tools to 'read'.  How does your DD learn?  Is she a visual learner, is she an auditory learner etc?  Some people just don't like to read but have no problem listening to a book.  I know many kids, even at this age, who will use the audio versions along with the printed versions for a quasi 'read along' book.

 

Reading programs can be fun, but shouldn't be forced.


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Old 06-05-2012, 07:58 AM
 
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I tend to think some people just don't take joy in reading & that's okay. While you may feel that reading is a "cornerstone of lifelong learning and intelligence," it's important to note that people can read for information - to acquire knowledge, to be successful in learning etc. - in order to accomplish those outcomes without ever reading for pleasure. 

 

I wish I could find the article but it was a long while ago. Basically, it was a talking about how the one major commonality in the top scientists/innovators of the day was a passion for comic books as kids/teens lol. Maybe we are loading our kids up with the wrong reading material if we are really going to gauge a persons intelligence on what they read as a kid

 

The thing is, you have to be very careful forcing anything like this. For every child that ends up "OK" despite the pushing is a child who rebels and limits themselves because of it. My eldest would have tolerated if I required a book report every week because she's a kid who very much wants the approval of others. I can tell you, my DS (who is just as bright... even stronger in terms of language and verbal ability) would have fought me every inch of the way and purposely stopped reading ANYTHING just to prove a point! You can provide opportunities, good examples, support and encouragement but in the end, it's up to the kid what they choose to embrace.


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Old 06-05-2012, 11:56 AM
 
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OK-- my opinion is totally different from everyone else's!  My reluctant reader has dyslexia, so that might be why I feel differently about this.   Thanks to tutoring, and rewards for reading, he was tested at 6th grade reading in 4th grade.  He literally paid him to read.  For us, the less he read, the less progress he made in reading.  We needed to do what it took to get those words in his head.  So after talking to a psychologist, who suggested the idea, we paid him.  And it worked to increase his ability and his attitude.  We plan to pay him to read this summer, otherwise he won't.  He has the idea that he doesn't like reading-- and maybe he won't as an adult.  But for now, he needs practice reading, so we do what it takes to get him to read.  It doesn't sound like any of you have concerns about your child's abilities, so I don't think I would create a reward system either.  My other two kids don't get paid to read.  But they're all in the summer reading program at the library and they can win a book and a trip to an amusement park. 

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Old 06-07-2012, 12:18 AM
 
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We have reading built into our bedtime routine, and that does not change over the summer. The kids simply read for 15-20 minutes before they brush their teeth. Then, we read to them for 10-15 minutes before they go to bed. It lengthens the bedtime routine, but it makes sure that they each get some time to read. One child likes to read and will read for hours on her own. One child only reads during this time. I never find him reading at other times, he's too busy moving. These days, my 'non-reader' is interested in current events. He'd read his book for a few minutes, then ask me what happened. Tonight I had the brilliant idea of just giving him my phone with the news app open. I told him he could read the headlines, click on the links he was interested in, and ask me any questions he wanted. He read 4-5 news stories and a lot of headlines. Fine by me. If that's most of what he reads over the summer, that's great. He'll be one of the few 6th graders who can talk about major events.

 

So, I'd build a time for reading into your routine. It doesn't matter what she reads. I'd actually encourage her to read some things that are right at a 4th grade level -- because it's much easier to like reading when you don't have to work hard at it. The content may also be more interesting to her.


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