Tuesday, October 9, 2012

"Daddy, I want a book buck!"


Most nights before bed, Kayley and I read together. Because she's 5, I typically do the majority of the reading to her; however, she's learning to read by looking at the pictures and watching and listening to me read. She's also starting to identify a couple words like her name. And even more importantly, Kayley already loves to read.

When I ask her if she wants to read with me, she almost always says, "yes", and when I ask her why she wants to read with me, she almost always says "because its fun!"

From the beginning, we've worked really hard to inspire a love for reading with Kayley by stocking our house full of books, modelling reading for our own enjoyment and reading to and with her almost every day, especially before bed.

But something changed.

Last night I asked, "Kayley do you want to read before bed time?"

She said, "Yes," and added, "I want a book buck."

I asked, "What's a book buck?"

She said, "If I read 5 books, I get 5 book bucks at school."

I asked, "Why do you want book bucks?"

"Because I get toys."

I decided to let this go for the moment, so we could read the book she brought from school. While I read, I could tell that she really enjoyed it. She got excited during the exciting parts and nervous during the nervous parts. We both smiled and laughed while we made our way through the book.

When we were done, I asked, "Did you like that book?"

"Yes!"

"Why did you like it?"

"Because I'm going to get a book buck! Did you like it, daddy?"

"Yes."

"Why did you like it, dad?"

"I liked it because it was fun and we spent time together reading."

"Dad, I'm going to get a book buck, and I'll get one for you, too."

She went to bed.

I didn't.

Instead, I spent the rest of the evening writing this and thinking. Here's what I thought about:

  • Before Kayley went to school she said she read because she liked to read with me and it was fun, but now she says she likes to read because she wants book bucks. I'm not okay that book bucks and toys are competing for my daughter's motivation for reading with me.
  • There are two kinds of motivation: intrinsic and extrinsic; and these two kinds of motivation tend to be inversely related. Grow someone's extrinsic motivation and watch their intrinsic motivation wither away and vice versa.
  • Some claim that incentive programs can help get kids interested in reading, but even if that we're true, Kayley is already interested in reading and there is evidence that the book bucks are actually having a negative effect.
  • Motivation matters. There is a big difference between wanting to read a book because the characters are cool and you can't wait to turn the page versus wanting to read a book because you can't wait to get your hands on a reward or avoid a punishment.
  • We have worked really hard to inspire a love for reading with Kayley. We have the best of intentions for her.
  • The school really wants to encourage parents to play an active role in helping their children read so they use incentive programs like "book bucks". They have the best of intentions for students.
  • However, despite our mutual best intentions, I think it's pretty clear that there's a problem here. Does Kayley still love to read with me. Yes. Is her love for reading instantly destroyed. Of course not. However, reading for its own sake has been something that we've worked on for 5 years but now she's distracted by book bucks and toys. Is this good for Kayley?
  • If the school's incentive plan undermines a child's intrinsic desire to go on reading for the sake of reading, what should a parent do?

What would you do?

39 comments:

  1. I don't know what to say, my five year-old loves reading too and I hope school only encourages that. I came across this really touching post on a blog last week about the love of reading: http://lastephens.blogspot.ca/2012/09/the-first-book-that-made-you-cry.html

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  2. Given that (I hope) the school has the best of intentions in this, wouldn't a good suggestion be to ask them to replace the "toys" with books.

    Thus the more you read the more books you get too read.

    Ideally, of course, the school would abandon this bribery in favour of a more intrinsic method of encouraging reading, but given that they will probably refuse to abandon it...a redirection would be awesome.

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  3. This is such an important and brilliantly written article. It needs to go public. Alfie Kohn would be proud--come to think of it. get him to quote you.
    Nice work, friend.

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  4. I had the same issue with my daughter. She is very influenced by incentives and it seems like everything at school has some sort of extrinsic reward. I kindly wrote her kindergarten teacher last year and explained why she wouldn't participate in the Book-It program that gives a child a free pizza when they meet their monthly reading goal. She loves reading and loves being read to. I don't want her motivation to switch from the pure enjoyment and love of reading to "getting something." Ultimately, the reasons our children enjoy reading is as important as the reading itself.

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  5. how sad...have we not read the science of motivation???

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  6. I'd encourage the teacher to watch RSA Animate's short summary of Daniel H. Pink's book Drive. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6XAPnuFjJc

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  7. I think unfortunately I think that this is merely trading one form of extrinsic motivation for another, which is why the book bucks are successful.

    'When I ask her if she wants to read with me, she almost always says, "yes", and when I ask her why she wants to read with me, she almost always says "because its fun!"'

    It's fun because she's doing something with her daddy, something that you have built up as a routine. You are her extrinsic motivation to want to read books, and the environment you have built is another form of extrinsic motivation. I think it is a far healthier form of extrinsic motivation, the bond to be part of one's family, but it is external none-the-less.

    I would be horrified if my child had substituted wanting to spend time with me for earning some pretend money and toys, no doubt, but we should recognize that in order for her motivations to be completely internal, you have to strip away all of the external trappings you've set up for her and see if she still wants to do the activity, if she would choose the activity in another less-book-friendly environment.

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  8. This is a great article, thogh it makes me sad that we need to conitine having these conversations about what "motivates children to learn." Learning is the MOST instrinsic kind of motivation there is. Relationship is, too! So wanting to read with Daddy is quite different than wanting to get a toy, therefore reading a book. I don't understand David's comment above about "stripping away the external trappings" of being with Daddy, or being cozy and having fun-- those are not unrelated to the reading experience (this is a child who is not yet reading independently)... these "trappings" are as much a part of the experience as the book. Unfortunately, school, instead of ensuring that reading is that kind of experience (cozy, fun, relational), decides kids won't do it if they don't "get" something out of it. So much lost there.

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  9. As a retired teacher I sympathize. There were many "book bucks" type schemes during my career. I didn't agree, but it was usually a school-wide project, often set up by the parents group. I too think we should read for the pure engagement of reading rather than for some extrinsic reward. Often the rewards/toys at school were necessarily cheap or trendy and soon lost their appeal. Who got what, and who took someone's toy, and can I trade my toy for one like his ... OMG it was a hassle! It bothers me that simple pleasure is not reward enough, that knowledge gained is not enough, that developing the habit of life-long reading is not enough. I bet the children who read for the toy won't be readers when the toys are done. Your daughter will, Joe, because she's already hooked on books. This too shall pass.

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  10. From the comments so far, I'm seeing a lot of people against the idea of giving extrinsic rewards and prizes for reading.

    I get the difference between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation, and I know that we can't actually intrinsically motivate anyone. So the question is not "How do we motivate others"; rather, it should be "How can we create the conditions within which others will motivate themselves?"

    If we want our children to become life long lovers of reading, we need to put people before prizes or punishment.

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    1. That quote from Deci and Ryan drives so much of what I do... love it.

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  11. Hey Joe - you know my views on these type of incentive programs... ugh.
    I think the bigger issue here is: how do parents deal with educational issues they passionately disagree with? Does it matter if the parent is a teacher or not? I know many teachers that have gone through various concerns as parents and it is always tough. The only thing I can recommend is to sit down with the teacher to share the story of Kayley and the conversation you had. Having her opt out of this program will be tough as it is the same old story of when rewards are taken away... you get a punishment. The important part is to be able to work WITH the teacher (and some are more open to this than others) to explore the dangers of this program. As you said, the intentions are good - getting kids to read - but the goal is to get kids to read for the pure enjoyment of learning... and fantasy.. and creativity, etc.

    My kids are only 21 months old... they love to read with daddy as well as reading by themselves. They actually choose to have their own down time with a few books in their crib when they start to get a little upset "Bed? Bed? Bed? Books?" :) I cannot imagine paying my own child to read or learn.

    As David W touched on, I think motivation is on a continuum with various spots along the way. Bribery is at the far end but reading with daddy is somewhere in the middle with things like feedback, etc.

    Because your views are clear on many aspects of education, you will likely find yourself in this positions throughout Kayley's education. The important question is how do you (we) approach this as to keep the parent-teacher relationship as a positive? I think start with sharing the story, asking reflective questions, and a gentle nudge to change is what I would do. Also, some pre-meeting discussion so the teacher can respond rather than react.

    Looking forward to hearing about how this progresses.

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  12. I would do what I did - never let my kids (now 14 & almost 18) set foot in a school :) Homeschool, unschool, school of life. But I know it's not for everyone & I'm glad to see others have the intrinsic motivation & patience to try to improve the public education system; I certainly don't & I salute those who do.

    The thing with the extrinsic motivation is not just that we socially put a higher value on intrinsic motivators. It's that studies show time & again that once you introduce these extrinsics, you run the real risk of extinguishing the desire for the original bhvr altogether. I definitely echo the commenter who mentioned Alfie Kohn. His Punished by Rewards should be mandatory reading for all PTA's & school admins who want to set up these incentive programs.

    Otoh, so much of schoolwork is deadeningly boring & dull that applying some simple +R behaviorism might be the thing that makes it palatable for many students. It's certainly better than +P options.....

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  13. There is a real conundrum in this situation, as the love of reading is not developed at home with 100% consistency. In your example there is obviously a literacy rich environment, and I am sure your daughter sees you and your wife reading for both pleasure and "business" on a regular basis. Add to that your bedtime reading routine, she will develop a strong love for reading, regardless of "Book Bucks" or not. Unfortunately there will be a significant number of homes where there is no modelling taking place, and even more unfortunate, no shared reading times either. In these circumstances "Book Bucks" might be the only chance the teacher has to foster a very young child to start reading.

    Personally, I do not like reading incentive programs of any kind. Our kids read before bed every night (and my eldest reads exponentially more than that). In our home, however, we did not "play" the reading games sent home by teachers. We have talked with our kids so they know being a good reader has nothing to do with how many points or levels they have on a chart. So, when you ask, what would you do, I would say continue reading with your daughter, continue letting her see you reading, and if it is important that she earn "Book Bucks", you can continue letting her earn them. However, you can just opt out, and read "because it's fun". But, I would not discount the value of reading incentive programs because I know very well that for some children, reading to earn that toy, book, or pizza party might be the only hook that will one day allow them to be readers for life.

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    1. Ron, I appreciate your balanced perspective on this. We have a school in which a number of our students do not get much reading in the home. It is easy to offer incentives programs and hope that it helps... however, we (well, I have not done much - all the teachers) have created a culture of reading with the them of "For the love of books". Almost everything we do (outside of reading instruction in primary) with our students is based on encouraging them to read books of interest and at their level. A teacher saiod to me last week, when you look at a typical grade 3 class at our school, there is usually only 5-6 kids that are less motivated to read - if we keey on these students with finding out what interests them, we see great impact. And it is working... no prizes, no rewards... just a love of books. We do not have everyone yet but we are close. Kids that "hated reading" now come into the library in grade 4 and ask for certain series and authors. Such a pleasure to watch.

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  14. As the parent of a now 14 year old son who avoids reading for pleasure, I can attest to the damage done by school reading bucks, teacher required reading logs, Pizza Hut Book-It programs, school-wide Battle of the Books, and classroom posters charting the oral reading speed of every child in the class. All of these supposedly motivating things turned reading into just another chore for my son. Reading became something that was assigned, rather than something that he chose for pleasure. Reading became so graded, recorded, judged, timed, tested and tracked that he rebelled, despite our best efforts at home, and now rarely picks up a fiction book.

    If I had to do it over again, I would politely but firmly let his teachers know that he would not be participating in any of these forms of manipulation. Better yet, I would have homeschooled him and let him read widely and freely for hours on end.

    Don't let the school system and their misguided approach to reading ruin your daughter's love for books. Don't let them turn reading into a chore and don't allow them to manipulate the joy she find in words with cheap trinkets. It's worth fighting for.

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  15. Hi Joe and everyone,

    Great blog Joe, thank-you for putting in the time to make it. I am a huge believer in the importance of early literacy and ready to my son every chance I get. We have just started chapter books, which are so much fun!

    ----------
    Ok. Remove supportive parent hat, locate devil's advocate hat. Place devil's advocate hat on head, find soapbox.
    ----------

    Some children are not exposed to the same modelling and have not read extensively before they hit the school system. What is the best way to reach these students? I know intrinsic motivation is by far the most effective long term tool, but does it take time to nurture that? Do we have enough time to use only intrinsic methods? Are the material methods better for some students within the timeframe that teachers have in which to work? I honestly don't know the answer to this question yet.

    It sounds like Chris's full school initiative has done wonders. What if a teacher is doing this in their classroom only?

    Thanks in advance,

    Jeremy Marten
    New Teacher
    Victoria BC

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  16. My 5th-grade son always has loved to read - independently and with others. He enjoyed just sitting alone in his room for long stretches of time reading for personal pleasure. It is one of the things that I and his mother are most proud of - his joy of reading.

    This year, his grade level teachers instituted a new practice of requiring students to read a 100 minutes each week, at least 4 times a week, AND provide a written summary of what they read along with a personal reflection based on several writing prompts.

    Knowing how my son would react to being "forced" to read, early in the school year, I voiced my concerns very strongly with the grade-level teachers, explaining that I believed their reading program would not foster a desire to read, but rather force reading to become just another piece of homework to be completed. Unfortunately, they did not agree with my reasoning, and have continued with the reading program.

    As you can imagine, my son no longer reads for pleasure. For him, reading is now "work." Despite the best intentions of his teachers to get the students to read, by instituting measures of "accountability" and "assessment"(the teachers' words, not mine) into the assignment, they have crushed my son's and likely other students' desire to read.

    So, incentivizing reading is not the only way to kill a love of reading. Just turn reading into "work" and watch the kids shut down.

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    1. I had the same problem with my kids, so I informed the teachers that my children wouldn't be participating. I then told my kids the same, that it didn't apply to them. If tracking sheets came home I filled them out based on what reading was happening and sent them back (I know that the teachers needed that info to report), but made it clear to the kids that they were exempt. Seemed to work, they all still love to read :)

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  17. Sigh. Where to begin? My children are in Grade 5 (twins) and so I have had quite a few years of wearing my teacher and parent hat at the same time and trying to be respectful of what is different from my "ways/philosophy." Fortunately I have been very lucky thus far and have seen a lot of great things happening at my children's school. Certainly no reading bucks! Yikes.

    I believe on this you need to speak up. That is your right as a parent to not have your child's passion for books harmed. My approach is to come in with questions vs. Knowledge. So not "This reading bucks incentive program has the potential to kill reading for pleasure." But "I am bewildered by the point of this program. What purposes are you going for here? How do you think this will motivate the children more than simply promoting and celebrating a love of books? etc."

    This book bucks position is a hard one to defend. Your questions will be good ones. I am sure that other parents feel the same way. I always encourage parents to speak up individually and collectively against homework (and refer them to your blog!) Other parents would likely follow your lead if you are outspoken on this.

    This is touching on your home life and your child's lifelong reading habits. It isn't a debate over how to teach one math concept. It is an important one to tackle. I would be livid in your position.

    I don't buy that incentives get kids interested in reading. Incentives get kids interested in incentives. Books get kids interested in reading. How do I "sell" reading? My reading aloud and book talking books. They fly off my shelves and into student book bins.

    Okay now I am getting started . . . Passionate about this. So I'll stop. I hope you speak out.

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  18. What I did was ignore the reading log for my JK (and I got the impression the teacher eventually did too -- there were supposed to be prizes for every 25 books read, and some other parents told me their kids were disappointed not to get anything. I suspect the program didn't work for her, or she just had to let something slide and checking the logs was it.) He loves reading with me, but as soon as a log came into it, he saw it as homework.

    For his older brother, I wasn't as sure what to do -- he's in French Immersion, so does need a bit more encouragement to practice reading in French at home (despite being a bookworm in English). He was excited at the beginning of last year (gr. 2) because his teacher promised gifts (pencil etc.) for a number of books read too. We had a discussion about how this was not why he should read, how it might encourage kids to choose books that weren't challenging enough just to read more, and then I pretty much left it up to him. Eventually, he just stopped bringing the log home. He kept reading in French (not as much as in English), and later in the year when his teacher sent a reminder to parents about nightly reading, he told me he was not taking part in the contest, he didn't care about prizes for reading. Yeah, I was pretty proud. And he may not have read 700 books like one kid in his class supposedly did, but he did read the entire Wimpy Kid series in both French and English, and laughed out loud while doing so.

    This year I'm a bit conflicted again. I'm so happy that his teacher doesn't assign a lot of other homework, and I do agree that he should be reading in French at home, that I feel like recording the titles of the books in a log for his teacher to see is not too much to ask (I haven't heard anything about prizes associated with it). On the other hand, I'll continue to encourage him to read in French whether he writes down each title or not.

    I do have to question though, if these programs can actually kill the love of kids that already enjoy reading, how can they really help kids who struggle?

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  19. As a parent to an 8 year old boy who LOVES to read, I find this heartbreaking. When my son was 4, I knew so many parents who were sending their children to reading programs to ensure they learned to read early so they could be competitive with other kids when school started. I remember my husband being concerned that maybe we should be doing the same for our son, to ensure he didn't get behind. As someone who loves to read, I knew if we could capture our son's curiosity and desire to learn through reading, all the drive he needed would come from within. Whenever he expressed an interest in anything, I found a book for him on that topic. As he gets older and has more and more questions about things, we seek out the answers in books. He will sit and read for hours sometimes because he loves to read and loves what he can learn from books. Instead of reward programs for how much kids read, I would love to see a program that helps kids find books that tap into their individual interests. That is what creates a love of reading.

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  20. Even if the incentives do get the kid to read, teachers and parents have a lot of work to do in undoing the initial damage done by the incentive. I think making reading fun or giving reading an association with fun is less about extrinsic motivation - the rreading activity itself is fun. There is aplace for incentives when they are ' self determined ' - the kid decides that he needs some motivational help to reach his own personal goals.I agree with the suggestion that books are a better idea than bucks

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  21. A good experiment would to ask kids in the program to write a letter who was not so keen on reading why he should participate in the school's reading program

    some will say - reading is enjoyable / others - you get bucks

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  22. I am blown away by the passion behind some of these comments. I'm going to post a number of these as blog posts on their own.

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  23. Good plan!! So many great points and stories here!

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  24. Joe -
    I too am tired of the extrinsic motivation sapping reading simply for the love of reading - both at school and at home with my own boys.
    At school I've found a great motivational tool that doesn't use rewards like coupons or toys is Donalynn Miller's 40 book challenge.
    I start the school year talking about great books I've read over the summer, my favorites from last year, and the titles that are on my "all time greats" list. I don't start with grades or numbers or data or rewards or rules. I start by putting on display my love of reading. I ask each student to think about the last great book they've read, and when they can't think of one, we talk about their interests, hobbies, and movies they like. We make it a class mission to find a book that they will love. All the while, each of the kids makes a list of books we've mentioned that they want to read.
    I then ask all the kids how many books they read last school year and challenge each of them to read 40 books during the new school year.
    There is no prize, there is no coupon, there are not toys. It isn't a contest, and it doesn't count for a grade. There's no punishment for missing the goal, and there's no reward for exceeding it. The goal is simply to live 40 extra lives and experience 40 different worlds. The goal is to learn and grow. There are no rules except that I want them to try different genres out and if they don't like a book after they've read it for a while, then they should put it back and get one they'll like better. There are no worksheets. There are no tests. There's no chart on the wall. There are simply conversations about books, opportunities to share your favorites with the class, and excitement about great stories.
    Not every kid reads 40 books during the year. Some reach the goal, some exceed it, but every single kid the last two school years has read more books than they did the year before.
    On some level, I suppose the challenge is extrinsic. Perhaps some of them are seeking approval. However, with no grades or prizes, it may begin as an extrinsic task, but to maintain progress towards that goal all year long, they have to begin to see the intrinsic reward.

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  25. I wrote about my thoughts on rewards in Kindergarten here http://mattbgomez.com/reward-free-year/ The issue with rewards is they do seem to work, but when we really take a step back it is easy to see they are not needed.

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  26. Last year when my son was in First Grade, I wrote this post http://1stinmaine.blogspot.com/2012/01/saddened.html. I advocated for what I thought was right in the classroom. I won some, I lost some. This year shortly after school started, my now 7 year old son put his head down on the dinner table and said, "in second grade we aren't allowed to play...ever." Life as an educated, teaching, interested parent is tough. I loved school and it is different than it used to be, but I believe that if we advocate hard enough for play-based learning and reading for its own value, we will win over the ones we need to. If you do head in to talk with her teacher, please let us know. I am interested. I can't believe that teachers ever got into this gig for the pretend control of it all. We all do have some common bonds. Seek out what your daughter's teacher really feels about education and start there. But if you can't....read as if it's the only way you'll ever learn anything so your daughter sees how important it is to you. That will matter too. She knows you don't get paid to read.

    Kimberley
    1stinmaine.blogspot.com

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  27. Just stumbled upon your blog and what an interesting post! As a teacher, I understand the use of incentives, and the philosophy behind it, but this story shows the dangers. It's difficult to know what to do as a teacher, though, to motivate your students to read. Fortunately, your daughter has you reading with her every single night because you want to and know how good it is for her, but for children who do not get that at home, and have not grown up with books, the incentive may be the thing that gets them to pick up a book for the first time. What's a teacher to do...? Glad I found your blog!

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  28. As a teacher, when kids ask "What do I get for that?" My response has always been, "The satisfaction of a job done well." As a parent, I continue to battle the reading logs/rewards, more so with my daughter in middle school than with the elementary school. This year it became a greater focus when she said,"Why can't they just trust me and let me read what I want when I want?" She's an avid reader, and I won't let incentives take that away. She knows when I talk with the teacher or the principal, and she isn't embarrassed by that at all. In fact, she thanks me for it. This is my blog that was actually part of an email conversation I had with her principal. http://teachfromtheheart.wordpress.com/2012/09/06/just-let-them-read-books/

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  29. Wow, this makes me sad to read. I can understand where schools come from trying to get parents to read with their children at home, but in the long run it is not helping.

    We have been using Daily 5 as our literacy framework K-5 in our building for 2 years now (some grades longer) and can see such an incredible difference it has made on our students. We teach students the skills to be independent readers and writers and give them choice in what they are reading/writing. We model for them as readers and writers and share our passion for literacy with them. Our reading data shows the impact it has made, but what the numbers can't show is the love for reading we see in our students now. Students are reading because they want to, not because they have to!

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  30. This is it, Joe, the post that defines a principle in ways that a polemic could never do. They'll quote this one in your obit. I intend to print it and show it to colleagues who can't understand my opposition to prizes for good conduct and the like.

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  31. bribing children to read sends a clear message that reading is something no one would do unless they received some sort of incentive to do it. we don’t bribe kids to play (although that’s probably coming down the pipeline); we don’t bribe them to play video games.

    this is step 1 of showing kids what’s cool and uncool, and reading is so uncool you shouldn’t do it unless you get a toy or a pizza party as a reward.

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  32. When I was in elementary school, my school engaged in the Accelerated Reading program, where we could read books, take tests, and earn prizes. I refused to take part in the program. I loved to read, but taking a test seemed to ruin it for me. I didn't care that there were rewards. I didn't care that I was the only person in my class not earning points and rewards.

    My mom taught at the same school. Several teachers noticed that I had no AR points after several months of school and asked her why she didn't encourage me to read. I have since learned that this bothered her because these teachers had assumed two things. First, that I wasn't reading, and secondly, that she wasn't encouraging me to read. In actuality, I was reading more books than majority of my classmates.

    I didn't see the need to be rewarded for something I enjoyed doing.

    I find that now, as a high school Latin teacher, I don't understand why anyone wouldn't want to read for the sake of reading.

    Recently, while we were reading a passage by Julius Caesar, a student asked me, "Why do we have to translate and read Latin? Can't we learn Latin with less reading?" My answer was, "This is the account of one of the greatest leaders to ever live describing his invasion of Gaul. These are the actual words of Julius Caesar. We learn to read Latin for the sake of reading Latin."

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  34. I think there's more to the story. Railing against extrinsic rewards will get you pats on the back from lots of folks, especially Alfie K and his devoted ones, but extrinsic rewards and extrinsic reporting are also part and parcel of what all students need to learn The evidence that external rewards cause actual damage is scant. The link down the page on my profile page takes you to a stroy I told about my experience with the above scorned AR system- see Joyfully Witnessing a Transformation on http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=26476783&trk=tab_pro&_mSplash=1

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  35. There are positives to using incentives and there are dangers as well. Bribing our students to read sends a message that reading is not something you do unless you are getting rewarded to do so.
    Make reading fun by associating it with fun. I think we should read for engagement rather than extrinsic reward. It's a concern for me that reading for pleasure and the the knowledge we gain is not enough. Our schools have decided that our children won't read unless they are rewarded. Unfortunately there are some homes where reading is not modeled and there is no shared reading time. In this case, Book Bucks might be the only way to encourage a child to read early on. I don't like reading incentive programs personally. Children should know that being a good reader has nothing to do with how many points or levels they reach. Having said this, I will not discount the incentive programs because I know that for some children, reading to earn a toy , ice cream party or pizza might be the motivation needed that will one day make them readers for a lifetime.

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  36. We use audiobooks to encourage our kids to read. It's not as good as books, but it's definitely a step up from the tv. There's lots of great sites to download them, but we use this one a lot because all the stories are original and free. Here's the link if anyone is interested. http://www.twirlygirlshop.com/moral-stories-for-kids

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