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Sunday, May 22, 2016

Bedtime Reading as a REWARD

As you may or may not know, I am a teacher (and have been for 9 years). I teach first and second graders actually, which means that my job is to teach them how to read and the basics of almost everything. Therefore, it is obviously very important to me that my child is a happy little reader. I have carefully managed to make reading in our house a reward. Not a chore. I started this by tapping into what every child loves to do before bed, STALL. How do I know? Because I was the queen of stalling. If there was a way to stall bedtime, I tried it on my parents. They key is to use this to your advantage. Right before bed you give your child a choice: Would you like to go to sleep or read a story? ALMOST every child will choose to read a story. Why? Because it delays bedtime a few minutes longer. I always tell the parents of my students that the more you read to your children, the better reader they will become. It's not so important what you read, just that you are reading to or with your child as much as possible. The more text they see, the more they will recognize and understand words. I bet you're wondering how I use it as a reward. Well, right now I normally read 2-3 books with my son each night before bed. If he decides that he wants to throw a fit (which is his favorite activity right now) or doesn't want to listen to mommy or daddy then I start taking away books that we get to read before bed. If you currently take away toys or TV time from your child when they are acting up, then this is the same concept. It actually works better than you think. They are dying to spend one-on-one time with you and stall as much as humanly possible. Taking a book away means that bedtime is coming that much faster. It's really a double whammy. Not only is it helping to reinforce positive behavior but the reward is reading a book. Nothing is better than hearing the words "NOOOOOO...don't take a book away!!" Awesome. Young reader success. That's right buddy, don't make me take a book away.