The secret to education: reading for pleasure

Comments (9)
  1. Judy Riggs says:

    WOW! I loved this article! It really is up to us to build the readers of tomorrow – I’m headed to the craft store after hours today to purchase a punch so I can start a book earning program!


  2. I’ve known schools that partnered with Pizza Hut to give away free personal pan pizzas for reading a certain number of books and local libraries to offered a free book at the end of the summer if a child checked out a certain number of books, but never thought of this idea being applied to a bookstore. It’s brilliant and a win, win situation. I especially like the idea of giving a child his own frequent buyer/reader card.

    Just discovered you on Twitter.


    1. I have always believed in positive reinforcement to teach children to read. So many schools now are making children read for a letter grade as early as first grade. They are getting graded on their accelerated reader score. I think that especially with younger children that you first need to teach them to enjoy reading before you started looking at whether they are remembering all the content. Nice article, thank you for sharing.

  3. Diane Doonan says:

    This is a topic I am very passionate about, both as a mom and a used bookseller. I think our schools inevitably tend to take the fun out of reading for kids, and I try to keep our store as a fun reading haven apart from school. I personally think that kids will only be reading addicts when they realize the power of the stories, and then find and can read the stories they love.That requires exposure to lots and lots of stories. Most stories for early readers or below grade level readers are just boring, and there is nothing worse than having to read a “little kid” book, for a struggling older reader. When kids get to that point, you’ve lost them as reading addicts. So rewards may have a place to at least get kids to open the books and maybe discover the stories, but exposure to compelling stories is still the best. Kids did not (and still do not) need to be paid to read Harry Potter!

    At our store, we do all kinds of things to keep reading fun, but two of my favorites are the Halloween Ghost Story party, (there is nothing spookier than a haunted used bookstore), and a spring Leprechaun Party featuring magical stories of the fairies and other multicultural little people. The Read Across America campaign did trigger another successful community effort in our town, and we did partner with local schools for that one. Schools, bookstores and the library all had simple paper chains building for about 4 months with each link representing a book a child or community member read for fun. Dr. Seuss’s birthday in March is still pretty cold, so our “chain day” was moved to April when all of the kids hauled their chains from school to Main Street (yes we are in a pretty small town) and stretched the chain up one side of Main Street. Kids waved, cars and big trucks honked… pretty simple reward but I think more symbolic and fun than paying the kids to read books. The class I worked with certainly read more than 7 books apiece! An hour or two out of class on a spring morning plus some semi horns blasting, what could be better?

    The tricky part as a library or bookstore is attracting kids whose families are not already readers! If the parents bring them to the bookstore in the first place, they probably have books in their lives. I do keep a stash of “free books” for the neighborhood kids who drop by and for other young customers who seem like they need one. I’d love to see ideas on how other stores bring in new young readers.

    Thanks for the article, it’s an important topic!

    1. Nora O'Neill says:

      We have a downtown “safe” trick or treat during daylight hours that’s intended for wee ones that live in neighborhoods without sidewalks. So they go trick or treat in the downtown strip of businesses and have some activities on the green. I normally give the trick or treaters books to go with the candy.

  4. Here I am, a middle-aged guy and I still have a fondness for a “kid’s book.” But, wait a moment. Is it really? The Phantom Tollbooth really pulled me in when I was young, but I gave it a read again…found the only copy in the local Barnes & Noble…and I enjoyed it even more, now that I see the satire that I missed before.

  5. Without a doubt reading for fun can help children do better in school. Any reading. My nephew suffers from dyslexia and reading in school has been nearly impossible for him. I started giving him Batman comic books to read and before I knew it he was trying to read more and more. I think it did a lot to help stabilize him for school.

  6. I saw an another article like this ‘play for win’ . But your article also give some good tips like pay kids for learning because in the greed of something the don’t take it as burden.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *