[ Editor's note: Don’t miss the follow up to this article: 11 Creative Reading Incentives for your Classroom.]
I couldn’t resist, I had to take a look. What sort of incentives have parents and teachers been setting up on Reading Rewards? Kids log reading time, and earn ‘RR’ Miles by doing so (1 for every reading minute logged, up to a maximum of 90/day). Teachers and parents can then add custom rewards to kids’ very own RR Store. Once kids have earned enough RR Miles, they can ‘purchase’ their rewards. Kids love it!
So today, I checked it out. Lo and behold, the RR Store is full of wonderful ideas! What’s more, a lot of the rewards that teachers and parents set up don’t cost a cent. You know the saying ‘The best things in life are free’? Well, in this case, it’s true!
Here is my top 10 list of favorite reading incentives, pulled directly from the RR Store:
- Tickle session, 100 RR Miles
Now personally, you could never pay me enough to indulge in a tickle session, it is the absolute worst thing you do to me. Seriously, you even come near me with your fingers in ‘tickle’ position, and I will go crazy. Just try it, and see for yourself, if you dare. But hey, this young girl obviously loves it, to each their own!
- Snuggle time with mom, 30 RR Miles
In our house, we call them ‘cuddle sessions’. My boys, ages 10 and 12, will actually fight over who gets one. They literally want me IN THEIR BED, stroking their backs. They count the minutes, and if one of them gets even 10 seconds more than the other, I have a mutiny on my hands. When I saw a couple of parents put ‘Snuggle time’ in as a reading incentive, I knew I wasn’t alone. The best part? It’s a reward for mom, too.
- 30 minutes TV/game console/computer time: 60 RR Miles
This is by far the most frequent reward I’ve seen. In fact, it’s why I created Reading Rewards in the first place. How much you ‘charge’ your kids is up to you, but keep in mind that screen time is the root of all evil…. Ok, so maybe not the root of all evil, but do try and limit it as you can!
- Sleep over with friends: 500 RR Miles (really???)
Although this one won’t cost you a penny, it just might give you a few extra gray hairs if sleepovers in your house are anything like they are in mine. When the boys have friends over to sleep, one of us has to literally park outside the bedroom door, and bark at the boys if anyone of them makes a peep past a certain (mutually) agreed time. Finally, we fall into bed swearing ‘never again’. The parent that agrees to a sleepover for 500 RR Miles is very brave indeed. In our house, a sleepover will be 2500 RR Miles MINIMUM!
- Sleep over with mom in the living room: 1000 RR Miles
I looooooooove this one! Camping out in the living room with one of my kids? What a brilliant idea! Add a little fire in the fireplace, spooky stories and sleeping bags, and you’ve turned it into a camp out! I am soooooo adding this to my kids store and hope they go for it! I’m betting they’re gonna love it.
- Game with mom or dad: 250 RR Miles
Life is busy. By the time we get home from work, get dinner on the table, do homework, play piano, run around to soccer or whatever other activity is on the schedule for that day, we hardly even have time to breathe. Sound familiar at all? I can totally see how quiet, dedicated game time with mom or dad can be the ultimate reward. We’ll often have family game nights on weekends, but carving out that special time on a weeknight can be a challenge. Set it up as a reward, and you’ll have no choice but provide it to your reader once he’s redeemed it! Another one of my favorites, ’cause it’s a reward for mum and dad, too. (Notice I put an image of Candyland, and not Monopoly. Hey, let’s be realistic here, right?)
- Bake and decorate cupcakes: 750 RR Miles
This is another one that is about quality time with mom or dad. Do you sense a theme here? I’ve always enjoyed baking and crafting with my kids, so this is a fun one for me, too. Dedicated, one on one time, in the kitchen. And have you seen the cupcakes in this book? Too cute…
Now, if I could just find some incentive to keep me from eating them all…
- Lunch with your teacher: 500 RR Miles
Do you remember those rare moments from when you were little when you ‘scored’ private time with your teacher? Call me a nerd, but I always loved that. I was not at all surprised to find that a couple of teachers have set this up as an incentive for their students. Nice for teacher, who will maybe get to know his or her student a bit better, and so nice for the student, who gets to feel extra-special for a day. Win-win!
- You choose supper: Kraft Dinner ok! 500 RR Miles
My after-school conversations with my boys ALWAYS start the same way. I’ll pick them up at school, and after the obligatory ‘Hi, mummy!’, I’ll immediately get: What’s for supper? Is this just a boy thing??? I’ll either get a ‘Yessssssss!!!!’, or a miserable groan as a response. ‘Supper, your choice’ might not seem like a big deal to most, but trust me, in this house, it is. I was glad to see I was not alone! I might not go as far as putting ‘Kraft Dinner ok’, but if I do, you better believe it’s going to cost my kids more than 500 RR Miles…
- Teacher will wear a skirt to school: when group reaches 20,000 reading minutes
This one cracked me up, and I am waiting for the real picture that I know he’ll be sending me! One of our members, a male teacher, told his class he would wear a skirt to school when they reached their group target of 20,000 minutes. They’re not far off, I can’t wait to hear how it goes!
These are just some of the great ideas I’ve found, I’ll definitely post more at a later date.
Have you every used reading incentives to get your child or students reading? I’d definitely love to hear from you with any ideas you’ve had.