ERIC Number: EJ837444
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-May
Reference Count: 24
Reading Incentives that Work: No-Cost Strategies to Motivate Kids to Read and Love It!
Small, Ruth V.
School Library Media Activities Monthly, v25 n9 p27-31 May 2009
In education, it is possible to find dozens of examples of "forced" reading incentive programs that categorize student reading levels, provide limited reading lists coordinated with those reading levels, assess student reading through computer-based tests, and award tangible prizes when they pass the test. Those who perform best get the most rewards while those who perform less well get fewer (or no) rewards. The problems with such reading incentive programs is that they require students to select books from a pre-established list only, test them on facts presented in the books, and award points to those who pass the test, allowing students to cash in the points for tangible prizes. If students were industrial workers trying to increase the number of widgets being produced, this might be appropriate behavior modification. But, students are learners who, it is hoped, will develop a sustained love of reading. Reading is not a simple mechanical skill to be repeated. Instead, it is a personal act that should result in aesthetic pleasure, a gain of knowledge, or both. This article reviews some of the research on the use of extrinsic rewards in schools, includes some real-life examples, addresses five characteristics of reading incentive programs, and shares some effective, tried-and-true, no-cost alternative strategies that can be used to motivate long-term student reading behaviors. ["Reading Incentives that Work: No-Cost Strategies to Motivate Kids to Read and Love It!" was written with Elizabeth Angelastro, Susanne Bang, Sharon Bainbridge, Colleen Brindamour, Joanne Clarke, Christine Cordova, Brooke Dittmar, Elizabeth Hubbard, Deborah McHugh, Teena Lauth, Kimberly Lee, Kathleen Mauldin, Brianna Pannell, Natalie Panshin, Marie Sarro, Megan Stasak, Jennifer Sullivan, and April Yannarelli.]
Descriptors: Incentives, Reading Motivation, Rewards, Reading Strategies, Reading Improvement, Reading Research, Recognition (Achievement), Barriers, Performance Factors, Program Effectiveness, Program Evaluation
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: Media Staff
Authoring Institution: N/A