Although Reading Rewards lets you set up fun little reading incentives to motivate kids to read, we like to say, and firmly believe, that the true reward is in the reading.
Teachers in the Reading Rewards community seem to agree: According to our database, 60% of the teachers who use our reading program take full advantage of Reading Rewards’ reading log functionality without setting up a single reward. And when we challenged our young readers to tell us how reading rewards them, we received over 1,500 impassioned responses.
Still, many of us know children who are more reluctant readers, and who need an extra little push. A small reading incentive can go a long way to get them started, just until they develop a taste for reading.
A couple of years ago we wrote a post called “10 fantastic reading incentives that won’t cost you a penny!“. The post was so popular, that we decided it was time for an update. This time around, we are focusing specifically on creative rewards for the classroom that won’t break the bank.
Many teachers keep a prize box stocked with small prizes, and reward super readers with a chance to choose a prize from the chest.
Some teachers want to continually recognize reading progress, but can’t afford a prize for each time a student reaches a reading milestone. To get more mileage out of the prizes you purchase, you can reward reading with points towards a larger prize, or offer additional tickets to a class raffle.
Some classes use a class jar of jelly beans for this purpose. To reward children who have reached a milestone, teachers will add a scoop of jelly beans to the jar. As the overall level of beans rises and hits specific levels,
the entire class gets a reward. The higher the level reached, the better the reward.
We know that for many teachers, prizes purchased are an out-of-pocket expense. Fortunately, reading incentives don’t have to cost you a penny. Sometimes, the most effective reading incentive for a child is a little recognition for the progress they are making. That’s why some teachers design custom reading badges, trophies, and awards to celebrate their super readers’ achievements. Others recognize their students’ reading progress by sending them home with a glowing letter to their parents, who also get the chance to celebrate their children’s success.
Another popular reading incentive idea shows us that we are not so different from our children: It seems that adults are not the only ones who crave a little more free time. Most children these days have so much structure in their lives that they long for a little freedom to choose their own activities. That’s why some teachers offer up recess extensions or extra Golden time to children who have reached a reading milestone.
Many of our die-hard reading advocates are teachers who like to encourage reading… with the promise of more reading!
Reading-related prizes are quite popular and include free books and bookstore vouchers.
Some teachers favor reading-related privileges – such as the right to read a story to the class, or to sit in a special reading chair at the library or in the classroom.
On the subject of chairs, it seems that choice seating is an exciting prospect to our young readers, who spend much of their days sitting down. Maybe that’s why many teachers encourage reading with the promise of special seating arrangements.
Some teachers let star readers swap seats, sit with friends, use a special chair or cushion… or even sit at the teacher’s desk for part of the class!
Special seating arrangements are not the only
special privileges teachers grant in return for outstanding reading progress. Some teachers award the right to wear a special hat, skip the school uniform, chew gum in class, or skip lines for a day.
Others give super readers special classroom jobs – such as being teacher’s assistant for a day.
More computer time is an increasingly attractive proposition for your young readers. Fortunately, with great sites such as Reflex Math, National Geographic Kids, Wonderopolis , and Reading Rewards — to name a few — computer time can be highly educational as well as entertaining.
Whereas some children of a certain age see reading as “uncool”, these types of class-wide reading incentives provide the added benefit of making a hero out of the super reader, and create a bonding experience for the class.
For some kids, the best reward is less about what readers get to do, and more about the activities they get to skip! That’s why some teachers offer up No Homework passes to recognize exceptional reading.
Some of the most popular reading incentives revolve around the participation of school faculty. Children look up to their teachers and the school’s administrative staff. The promise of some undivided one-on-one time with a teacher or principal can be extremely motivating for young readers. (Read about one school that offered up fishing with the principal as a reading incentive!)
We’ve also heard about other brave and dedicated teachers promising to act on a dare as a reading incentive. For example, one male teacher we know about promised to wear a dress to school, while other teachers accepted to wear a funny hat or wig.
We hope this post has given you at least a couple of new ideas for how you can reward your students’ reading, if you choose to do so. Have you got any other creative ideas that have worked for your classroom? Please share them with us by adding a comment below!