We’ve just added a free printable Reading Rewards certificate to our Storytime for Schools website, along with a reward certificate for brilliant writing. This got us thinking about the best and most effective kinds of rewards for reading.
Of course, for some kids and for any booklover, reading in itself is the reward. However, for early readers who struggle or have reading difficulties or just don’t readily engage with books, reading can feel like climbing Mount Everest. That’s when the right reading rewards can be just the thing you need to help them reach the peak. So here are five suggestions for reading rewards that might make your little one read happily ever after…
5 Reading Rewards That Really Work!
1. Sticker Reward Chart
Stickers on their own are cool, but using them to fill in a blank reading rewards chart is far more motivating. It’s a great way to encourage reading. Try this: use ordinary dot stickers for each day of the week. At the end of the week, add a column for a big puffy or sparkly sticker. Make it your child’s favourite character or something they love. But they only get the special sticker if they read for the agreed number of times or length of time. Create your own printable reading rewards charts at Kiddy Charts for free.
2. Destination Chart
Destination or track charts are just like the stepping stone pathways you get in dice board games. The aim is to get to the ‘finish’ line. You start at one end and, for every day or time your child reads, you move forward one step. Sticker, tick or colour each step as you go. When your child reaches the finish line they get a reward. This could be something like a book or a toy. Alternatively, in-keeping with the idea of a destination chart, why not make your reward a fun day out or experience? Try a trip to the local park, beach, farm, swimming pool, a theme park or, better still, the local library! (You can also download track charts from Kiddy Charts.)
3. Reward Jar
This is much like the reading rewards chart, but instead of collecting and completing a chart with stickers, you fill a jar with something your child likes. It can be stickers, coins, marbles or – a little unhealthy – sweets, such as jellybeans. Every time your child reads the agreed amount of pages or for the agreed amount of time, you pop one of the above into the jar. When the jar is full, they get the whole lot as a reward. You can also do this with pebbles, buttons or pom-poms – and decide the reward when the jar is full. Another idea is to fill the jar with slips of paper. Each slip has a treat written on it. When the jar is full, pick a treat at random. They don’t have to be costly – treats could include watching TV or having a friend over.
4. Reading Reward Art
If you’re creative, you might like this reading rewards idea – a piece of art that’s created one section at a time. You add to it every time your child reads. This works best using themes you can easily build up and add to, such as adding leaves to a tree, flowers to a garden, circles to a caterpillar, or sweeties to a jar. Start with a big blank piece of card and, over a month of reading, watch your child’s art grow. It’s really effective if you write some praise on each new section, e.g. Great Job! As reading rewards go, this gives your child two reasons to be proud – they’ve done great reading and great art. Plus they’re reminded of how well they did every time they look at it. One for the bedroom wall.
5. Wearable Rewards
Kids love collecting – especially stuff they can hang from their school bags or wear with pride, so why not make your reading rewards wearable? If your child reads the agreed amount for a week/fortnight/month, they get their favourite character badges to add to a jacket. Or it could be charms to add to a keyring or bracelet – or patches to sew on a jacket, scarf or blanket, just like in Scouts or Guides. Or add fancy beads to a string and you’ll end up with a reading reward necklace. Every time your kids see their reading rewards, they’re reminded of what they did to get it and feel motivated to do more reading.
And there’s always our certificate, which you can print off for free and use whenever someone has done brilliant reading!
Just some ideas that we hope will help parents or teachers of reluctant readers. It might feel a chore at first, but in time, these enticements won’t be needed. If all goes well, your kids will fall in love with reading. It’s very hard to resist.
As always, here’s to reading happily ever after.