5.18.2015

Why my kids don't participate in summer reading programs

Summer reading programs are everywhere. The bookstores are doing them, the libraries, the schools. Children are offered pizzas and other prizes if they can race through a predetermined number of books this summer.

Why do we want children to have good reading skills? So they can use the tool of reading for gaining information and for enjoyment, right? However, when we offer them an incentive, we give the impression that reading is work rather than an enjoyable activity, and that the check-off matters more than the process of reading the book.

Books: Only one of many sources of reading material. My first daughter learned to read by her own motivation to navigate children's websites. Books came later. Comics, magazines, video games, websites, movie subtitles... See: How unschoolers learn to read

Incentives hinder learning. Holding a prize in front of a child or setting a deadline may distract the child from taking adequate time to comprehend the material, enjoy it, or improve reading skills. Worst of all, if the child does not fulfill the full requirement to earn the prize, he or she may feel like a failure, associate it with reading, and avoid reading in the future.

Do I want my kids to read this summer? Sure. They love to read.

All that said, if my kids want to participate in an incentive reading program, of course they can.

RelatedCash rewards for grades: Completely take the fun out of learning. School is your job, kids. Fun, meaningful learning? No. Make it all about the money.


1 comment:

  1. Freely recognize everybody who achieves the Five Book target e.g., cut out night-themed improvements for the library and compose on them the names of everybody who peruses five books; put a customized bookplate in a library book out of appreciation for everybody who peruses five books; show an intelligent board that demonstrates the developing number of individuals who have perused five books; give a decoration to everybody who peruses five books and show them in the library.
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