FTC Disclaimer: As an ambassador for Central Arkansas McDonald’s, I receive compensation for talking to others about how McDonald’s is part of our family’s life.
Anyone that knows me knows that one of my favorite hobbies is curling up somewhere to read a good book. This has always been the case. You may recall from another post that I have mastered the art of walking while reading – without bumping into anything. That is because I have had nearly 3 decades of practice with reading at every opportunity that I get.
I have been really enthusiastic about getting Christian to love reading as well. In fact, a few years ago, I wrote a post about how to make reading fun for kids. It contained several tips for what I did with Christian to get him to enjoy listening to me read stories. Now he LOVES story-time.
However, now that he is 5, I am working on getting him to learn to read and to actually enjoy the process.
Yall, this is challenging!
He loves being read to but has not grasped the concept of reading on his own. He gets easily frustrated and wants to give up (i.e. he wants me to read the book to him).
I have learned that when one or both of us is in a state of frustration, the learning/teaching process is just no fun. So I have been trying to think of ways that I can get Christian to love to read on his own.
Of course, I give him plenty of opportunities to read. Our home is filled with books and we make frequent trips to the library in our neighborhood. However, what I think he really responds to is being rewarded for progress. I think that most libraries have realized this as they offer summer reading programs for kids where they keep track of the books that they have read and then, at the end of the summer, they can turn in their chart and get a prize.
This is the idea behind my “I Read it Myself!” reward chart. For every book that Christian reads alone (even if he is mostly just going based on the pictures), we fill in the name of the book and the author. The goal right now is for him to read 5 books per month on his own (this will increase has his reading skills improve). When he has filled in 5 books that he read independently, he gets to choose from a list of rewards.
The rewards vary, but one of the things that I made sure to include was playtime and dessert at McDonald’s. McDonald’s is very close to our house and has a playplace, so it is somewhere that we go often – especially when the weather is bad and he needs to burn some energy. It’s also nice to stop by there some days when we want a quick and sweet treat. Christian loves going there to play with his old friends and make new ones, so I think that including some McDonald’s-related rewards is something that he can get excited about.
Speaking of McDonald’s, did you know that they have partnered with Reading is Fundamental? RIF has made a name for itself as the #1 children’s literacy non-profit. Since 2013, McDonald’s has joined their mission to improve childhood literacy by not only adding books to their Happy Meals at certain times of the year, but also donating books through RIF. Personally, as a reader and a mom, I love this initiative because it positions books as a reward and something that can be just as enjoyable as the toys that McDonald’s usually puts in Happy Meals. By the end of this year, it is estimated that McDonald’s will have put 50,000,000 books into the hands of kids across the nation.
Getting back to my reward system, I know that some people view it as bribery. However, I believe that if you are introducing your child to books about things they actually like that they will eventually see the benefit of being able to read them independently. The rewards are simply a way to motivate them to not give up just because learning to read can be difficult.
I’m (by no means) a graphic designer, but feel free to download our chart below. 🙂
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