*From Jen: Much thanks for Ralphie for this fantastic post! Please click on her links to learn more about what she has to offer. I love this reading idea- and it really does work! For my book recommendations, click here.
By Ralphie Jacobs from Simply On Purpose
Did you know that the number one indicator of academic success is being an avid reader??? Talk about pressure to make sure that happens for your kids! Especially when each of them have their own natural inclinations to either love reading or… not so much. Here is a reading system that will really work.
I think that a lot of us feel like our children should have an intrinsic desire to read… just for the love of reading, because most adults get that feeling. But the reality is that most things don’t become rewarding in and of themselves until you’ve been given LOTS of exposure and experience with that thing.
So, here enters the reward system.
I have done lots of different reading reward systems, but the one that we are using now has been by far the most effective at getting my children to look forward to reading and fostering that highly desired ability to get lost in a book. AND it’s self-reinforcing which is huge.
My kids call it… THE MOM STORE.
What you’ll need:
- A big plastic bin filled with snacks that are not too messy, semi-healthy, and pretty novel!
- Stuffed animals
- A small container for tickets
- Plastic baggies with each child’s name
Pretty simple so far, right? It is! Here’s how to do it:
1. Each time a child finishes a book she is given 1 ticket for every 10 pages that she reads. These books must be at her reading level and she has to finish the book in order to get the tickets. After a while, she will have a nice pile of them saved up.
2. The Mom Store is a big plastic bin that you fill with snacks and stuffed animals.
3. Here is the key: The Mom Store is only opened if all of the kids are committing to 1 hour of reading. It does not open under any other circumstance.
4. The kids use their tickets to either purchase snacks or rent “reading buddies” (stuffed animals).
5. Another key element: The snacks and reading buddies can only be used during reading time. They can’t purchase things with their tickets to use later, so make sure that they are getting a moderate amount.
That’s it! Watch as they get excited for reading time! During the school year we do The Mom Store on the weekends and during the summer we do it every day.
You can add other things to The Mom Store for them to earn as well. Some of those things they have to earn collectively, and others they can earn from themselves. We’ve done:
- Lunch Dates With Daddy
- Just Dance Party
- Smoothie Taste Test
- Rootbeer Floats
- Movie Theater
A good friend of mine started The Mom Store recently and here’s what she had to say about it:
“A month ago I was struggling to get some of my kids excited about reading so I asked Ralphie for ideas about her Mom Store. I had heard so much about it from her kids in our carpool. In the last month I now have 2 reluctant readers who ask to read. Giving extra rewards for reading has changed how my kids feel about reading and does not even require extra effort on my part. It is awesome to see my house now full of readers!”
Be creative! Have fun putting a store together. And most of all, happy reading!!!
Ralphie writes all about motherhood, parenting, and living with purpose on her Instagram feed: @simplyonpurpose. You can also learn more at her website, simplyonpurpose.org. Come follow along!
I’m excited to try this with my 7 and 5 year old this summer. How many tickets do you “charge” per item?
Hi Lindsey! It just depends. Most treats are 5-7 tickets. Other big items like doing to lunch with daddy cost 20.
Do you recommend any books for new readers, we are completing the BOB books and my Kindergartener cannot wait to read chapter books.
Thanks so much!!!
Emerging chapter books are a pretty big jump from BOB books. At your library they should have a section for early readers. I would just grab a bunch over there and slowly work the child up as he/she builds fluency and comprehension. Some of those books that pretend to be chapter books are The Princess In Black and Penny and Her Song.
My daughter loved the Princess Posey 1st grader series.
I love this. I have a five year old that just learned to read this year and a 3 year old that I think I could set up with an audio-read- a-long-book. This will be such an awesome tool this summer and a great way to get them excited about reading. Thank you!
Yay! It’s a great way to get a quiet time for you too. Have a great summer!
I have always been a huge reader & of course I want my boys to be too. I am so excited to try the Mom Store this summer! I think it sounds like an amazing way to make reading time special.
It really is! They’ll ask to read which is huge!
Could you do a ticket for every 10 minutes of reading? Instead of per 10 pages? To accommodate the younger readers who may not get through as many pages as their older siblings in the same amount of time, and feel bad that they only got 1 ticket while their older sister got 4. Has anyone tried this or another variation?
So when implementing this the first time, they are earning tickets to be used towards their next reading time? And the store would then open before the next reading time as long as everyone commits to an hour of reading?
Tyler Gray says
Reading can enlarge the intellectual background of the students. The more the books are read, the more knowledge will be broadened. At the same time, it will allow students to enrich their minds in reading, making their minds more active and flexible.
How does this work for 3 almost 4 year old and a almost two year old? Can it work? I like the concept just not sure if we are there yet. Let me know thanks.
I did it for my 2 and 4 year old last year who didn’t know how to read. I just had them look through books, or do audio books for a shorter length of time (30 minutes), and came up with a ticket payment system that worked for us. I would also read to them later on. It was nice to have that half hour of added quiet time where they did it themselves while my oldest read, and I could get some things done.
I like that idea. Do you have any tips for how to introduce the idea in a way they can understand?
This is my question too. I have 3 non-readers, a 5 yr old, barely 3 yr old, and barely 2 yr old. Maybe I could set the 5 yr old up with head phones and the younger two I could read to them? Or is there a better way?
That sounds like A good Idea. I do like the idea of them “reading” by themselves. I just don’t know how to get the almost 2 year old to understand.
I noticed your girls wearing headphones in the poctures. What is playing on the headphones? White noise?