My daughter is HIGHLY motivated by rewards. As a Girl Scout this year, she was pretty disinterested in how many boxes of cookies
her parents she sold, but very interested in what prize level she had achieved. (My behavior plan for this summer is an attempt to harness this tendency to get her to make habits of things I’ve been pestering her about for years.) As a result, I’ve got her participating in not one, not two, not three, but FOUR summer reading challenges, plus a summer math challenge, as a way to keep her academic skills fresh while school is out.
The last two summers, she has participated in the New York State Summer Reading Program at the Saratoga Springs Library, and she’s doing so again this year.
We I track and log how many minutes she reads daily. Once she’s read for a total of 60 minutes, she goes to the library and reports on one of the books she’s read to a “Book Buddy”. After each report, she receives a “book buck”, which can be redeemed right away, or saved for larger prizes. She reported for the first time this year today, and chose to spend her book buck on a peace sign eraser. (Because if there’s one thing we need fewer of, it’s erasers.) Kids who read for 1,500 or more minutes over the summer are eligible for a grand prize. She’s never achieved grand prize status, but this could be her year…
The other summer reading challenges she’s doing are:
- From her teacher next year. She records the books she reads this summer, and will receive a glitter stick for each. The glitter sticks are redeemable for prizes.
- New York State Assembly’s Summer Reading Program. She tracks the number of days she reads (or we read to her) in July and August, then submits the form to our Assemblyman’s office, and she receives a certificate.
- Northshire Book Store Summer Reading Bingo. Northshire is a fantastic independent bookstore in Saratoga, and this program looks really fun. They provide a bingo card filled with age-appropriate reading and reading-related activities. She checks the boxes once she’s completed them, and brings her card in for prizes.
While it may seem a little over-the-top to have my not-quite-seven-year-old daughter participating in four summer reading challenges, there’s tremendous overlap among them. Whatever she reads can count for three of othe four, and some will also count for the last one (Northshire). Having prizes to help motivate her will minimize the prodding and arguing my husband and I will have to do to keep her reading this summer.
Are you kids participating in any academic challenges this summer?