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This Is the Absolute Worst Way to Teach Your Kids to Read

Stashed in: Parents, Parenting, Reading

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To make an hour spent with a book into the equivalent of loading the dishwasher is to send the strong, implicit message that reading is a similar task, one that will never be a source of pleasure. You may end up with kids who have logged in lots of hours of reading, but that won’t make readers out of them. There’s a vast difference between dutiful, grudging, joyless reading and the kind of hungry, engaged reading that makes for a good student and a thoughtful citizen. It’s hard to be good at something you don’t enjoy. 


"The site, for example, was set up by parents who decided to “put a system in place whereby their kids had to earn TV or game console time by reading: 1 minute TV time for every minute of reading.” Recently, FreeTime, a user-profile control app on the Kindle Fire, introduced a new setting by which parents can require their kids to spend a certain amount of time reading e-books before they can access the device’s games. In essence, these are digital versions of a clever “game token” allowance system created by a contributor to the Instructables website; her kids earn handmade chips good for computer time by doing chores around the house.

"But there’s the rub: Reading should not be a chore. Chores are tasks that nobody wants to do but that have to be done all the same. Life is full of such activities. Part of being an adult is learning to suck it up and take care of them, yet another thing parents have to teach their kids. Kids often have to be bribed to do this with an allowance or game tokens or some other treat because kids aren’t big on the long view. They don’t care that if they don’t wash the dishes tonight; there will be no clean ones to eat off of tomorrow because tomorrow seems so irrelevantly far away."

Geege, I like that. Encourage kids to read anytime.

Other things like TV or games can be earned by doing non-reading chores!

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